General gardening topics

How to take Buddleia cuttings – Growing Butterfly Bushes

Last updated on January 25th, 2022

Our site is reader supported, this means we may earn a small commission from Amazon and other affiliates when you buy through links on our site.

How to propagate Buddleia plants

Buddleias are more commonly known as the ‘Butterfly Bush’ because of the magnet-like attraction butterflies have to them. There is no mistaking the highly scented spiked flowers of Buddleia bushes that flower in abundance throughout the summer. These are highly attractive to a variety of beautiful butterflies, our much-loved bees and other beneficial insects that pollinate our plants.

Buddleia is a very versatile plant and will grow in most conditions, including drier areas of the garden, and you can even get dwarf varieties that are perfect for growing in pots on the patio.

With 1000’s of different Buddleias growing in gardens and lots more that have self-seeded in towns across the UK, there are plenty of plants to take cuttings from should you not already have one.

Quick Tip: For best results take a softwood cutting in the spring.

Take Buddleia cutting in spring, they are known as softwood cutting and root quickly.

Propagating Buddleia

Buddleia can be propagated from seed or by taking cuttings. Sowing seeds can be time-consuming and is not as effective as taking a cutting. Seeds do not usually grow true to the plant it was taken from, which is another reason to propagate them by taking cuttings.

Why not check out one of our favourite online nurseries. They have a large selection of Buddleia varieties – View Buddleia on

What you might need to grow Buddleia cuttings

The items below will help make growing Buddleia from cuttings more successful, however, they aren’t essential and there are many workarounds, such as using old pots/seed trays and multi-purpose compost.

How to take Buddleia cuttings

There are three types of Buddleia cuttings that you can take. Softwood cuttings, which are taken in spring. These are probably the best type of cuttings to take because they root easier and are usually more successful. Semi-hardwood cuttings can also be taken in summer when the growth used for cuttings is semi-mature. Finally, you can take hardwood cuttings and these are taken in autumn/winter when the shrubs have dropped their leaves.

How to take cutting, remove all lower leaves and cut the top pair if leaves in half.

How to take soft-wood cuttings from a Buddleia

Softwood cuttings are taken in spring or early summer from new tender growth. Take cuttings early in the morning when the plants are hydrated. If you are unable to plant the cutting straight away, place it in a bag with water and store in the fridge until you are ready to use them.

  1. Firstly, mix the cutting compost or multi-purpose compost with around 30% perlite. All you want to achieve is a well-drained cutting compost where the roots will be able to take easily.
  2. Take your cutting from new fresh growth that are 4-5 inches long and that have not got any flower buds on.
  3. Take the cutting and remove all but the top set of leaves. You can cut these top set of leaves in half, although this is not essential.
  4. Make a sharp clean cut just under a node (lead joint) to make the cutting 3-4 inches long, dip the cutting in rooting hormone powder and make a small hole in the compost with a dibber and insert the cutting into a suitable container.
  5. You can put several cuttings into a container or plant them into individual cell trays, the latter will make potting them up easier.
  6. Water well and place the cutting into a propagator, (bottom heat will speed uprooting) they will often root within 2 weeks. If you don’t have a propagator then simply putting a couple of canes into the pot and placing a clear plastic bag over the pot will suffice. Keep watered and remove bag every few days for 20 minutes to air and avoid them rotting off.
  7. Place on a warm a windowsill or greenhouse where there is plenty of light, but not in direct sunlight as this can scorch the young foliage. Check roots after 2 weeks, it may take up to 6 weeks to root but as soon as they have plenty of roots, pot up into small individual pots being careful not to damage the roots. Harden off over summer and autumn. They should be okay to survive the winter but bring into a cold sheltered area if in doubt or you live in a particularly cold part of the country.

Taking semi-hardwood and hardwood Buddleia cuttings

These types of cuttings are taken from the more mature wood. Semi-hardwood cuttings are taken in summer from wood that has started to harden and hardwood cuttings are taken in autumn and winter from mature wood.

Take the hardwood cuttings when the plants have lost their leaves for the winter.

  1. Take a cutting that is 6-12 inches long and cut just under a leaf bud at the bottom and then just above a leaf bud towards the top to form a cutting that is 6-10 inches long.
  2. Dip it into cutting powder to help promote roots and make a hole in the compost with a dibber and insert the cutting into a suitable container. You can place several cuttings into one pot. The compost should be mixed 50% compost and 50% grit sand.
  3. Water well and place into a cold frame or greenhouse in light, but not direct sunlight. Keep watered and they should show signs of roots in spring
  4. Once they have plenty of root in spring, pot up into smaller 9cm pots and grow on before planting into the garden.

To learn more about taking cuttings and see more in-depth instructions have a read of our guide here.

To learn how to prune a Buddleia correctly read our guide here.

How to increase the flowering time

Remove flowers as they fade and they will produce new flowers. They can flower 2 to 3 times in one season. Do not allow the faded flowers to go to seed as the plant will focus all of its energy into seeding and not flowering.

How you can help small birds over Winter

Finally, leave the last flush of flowers on in late summer as this attracts small birds into the garden and the seeds provide food for them when natural food becomes more scarce.

Last update on 2024-06-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at


  1. sheena hamilton

    can i take a hardwood cutting of buddlia in january? thank

  2. John

    Hi, yes you can take hardwood cutting in January, they usually just take a little longer to take but you can usually take them and forget about them. The best time is usually after they go dormant and just before they start shooting new buds.

  3. Anonymous

    I just bought a B. agathosma and its main shoot got snapped off coming home. It is woody with lots of emerging and emerged leaves. The new growth isn’t big enough to make soft cuttings. Should I cut it up into three cuttings (its about 15 inches long) remove all big leaves and hope it will roots or just try rooting the tip – the top 6 inches which might be considered a semi hardwood cutting?

Write A Comment