01 Oct 2022

Green Fingers: Plants that will attract butterflies

Green Fingers: Plants that will attract butterflies

Buddleia is a great shrub for late Summer colour

Recently a plant in our garden had at least 100 butterflies on it. They all consisted of three or four species. I have never actually seen so many butterflies in one place. And what is the name of this plant I hear you ask? This plant is a Buddleia.

The Buddleia or Butterfly Bush is very well known with its arching growing habit and scented flowers. Buddleia davidii produces large racemes of cone-shaped flower clusters that are a violet-blue in late Summer. Buddleia is a great shrub for late Summer colour. It is extremely attractive to butterflies and some types of bees. The plant can be hard-pruned to control the size and shape and encourage fresh flowering growth. This is best done in early spring, but additional partial pruning can be done after flowering in autumn. This plant holds the RHS Award for Garden Merit, meaning it is a remarkable plant indeed.

The plant can be considered an invasive alien. It is not native to Ireland and is most likely a garden escape which originally came from Asia. In fact, you may well see this plant sprout from seeds in the most random locations. It is often seen in abandoned or derelict industrial sites, but I have never known this plant to become a nuisance in the garden .


Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ bears wide, black-eyed, single, yellow daisy flowers with cone-shaped, black-brown center’s from August to October. It’s ideal for creating a splash of late-summer colour in ornamental borders and works well in prairie-style schemes with ornamental grasses.

It’s short enough not to need staking and doesn’t spread so fast that frequent division is necessary, making it a very easy-care plant. It is also great at attracting bees.

Use it between other plants in a flower border, as it tolerates light shade, to extend the flowering season late into the year. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

For best results grow Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’ in bold drifts in moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Divide congested clumps from autumn to spring.

Sedum spectabiles

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ will bring fabulous colour to a mixed border or cottage garden in late summer. It produces neat clumps and long-lasting vivid flowers.

Sedums are highly attractive to butterflies and insects. They make an excellent cut flower and are often used in fresh floral arrangements.

Sedum spectabiles is additionally described as a trouble free easy gardening plant!

Due to the height of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ they’re suitable for the back of borders. Sedum Autumn Joy are easy to grow plants with no special requirements. Plant Sedum Autumn Joy in a well-drained soil in a sunny location, space them according to the instruction on the plant pot.

Stake the plants if planted in a windy location. Sedum Autumn Joy may suffer from mildew or root rot if soil is not well-drained. Water frequently after planting! Once the Sedum Autumn Joy become established, they’re drought resistant and rather tough plants.

Apply fertilizer in early summer. Cut Sedum Autumn Joy down to ground level in autumn. Sedum Autumn Joy has a relatively short life, but may be prolonged by dividing the plant every other year in autumn or spring, and replant immediately.

Contact James

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