Brazilian Butterfly Bush


1. Light/Sun Exposure - Full to partial sun.

2. USDA Hardiness Zones - Hardy outdoors only in zone 9 and warmer.  In cooler zones (1 to 8), follow instructions under winterizing.

3. Planting Distance - 3 to 4 inches apart in ground.

4. Mature Height/Spread - 6 to 8 inches tall.

5. Bloom Time - All year.

6. Planting Instructions - Dig a hole twice as deep and twice as wide as each dormant bulb. When dug, the hole should be big enough to allow the dormant bulb to be covered with 1 to 2 inches of soil.  Place bulb in hole and cover with soil, firming the soil with your fingers. Water thoroughly.


This native of Brazil (Oxalis triangularis) is sure to become a favorite of whoever buys it. It has triangular purplish leaflets that fold up at night or when touched. The leaflets actually resemble butterflies at rest. In the summer it decorates itself with a profusion of light pink flowers, which really "pop" against the background of the purplish leaflets. Excellent in-ground or hanging planters or even as an accent in mixed patio containers.


Although these plants will perform well in average garden soils of all types, we recommend having your soil tested periodically by the local County Extension Office.  These tests can determine if the soil needs any amendments to enhance your plants' growth and performance.  See below for our recommended practice to improve your soil without any additional testing:

1.  Spade or till the soil to a depth of 12-18 inches.

2.  To provide nutrients and improve drainage, add organic matter to your soil by mixing in a 2 to 4-inch layer of dehydrated manure, garden compost, shredded leaves, and/or peat moss.

3.  After active growth begins, periodically feed with Cottage Farms' water soluble Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Plants in containers need more frequent watering and feeding, especially when in active growth and bloom.


Water - Your plants require 1" of rainfall (or equivalent watering) each week when planted in the ground.  Do not allow plants in containers to dry out.  In a container that is exposed to full sun, water it well at least once every other day, and possibly every day, during periods of intense summer heat.  You may wish to temporarily move containerized plants to an area where they are shielded from the hot summer sun (i.e.,in the shade of a tree, on a porch near an overhang).

Mulching - Apply a 2-4 inch layer of shredded bark, compost or other organic mulch around your plants to promote moisture retention, maintain even soil temperatures, and to discourage weed growth.

Weeding - Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Weeds compete with all plants for food, water and light. Walk around the garden periodically and pull weeds, including the roots, as soon as you see them.

Grooming - Deadhead or remove flowers when blooms have faded, leaving as much foliage as possible.  You don’t want the flower heads to go to seed.  Seed formation drains off the food needed to produce next year’s growth, which is essential for further bulb development.  Leaves should be allowed to die back naturally before removing.  The green leaves are the last things to wither and dry up but they do provide the nourishment for your bulb growth. As long as the foliage remains green it will gather sunlight and transmit energy into the root system for the following growing season. DO NOT remove the foliage while it is still green. 

Feeding - Feed your plants once every 2-3 weeks during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer such as Cottage Farms' Carefree Bud-N-Flower Booster. Discontinue feeding after September 1st so your plants can harden off for winter dormancy. Resume fertilizing when new growth appears in the spring.

Winterizing - In colder climate areas (zones 1 to 8) winter temperatures will damage these bulbs. Dig the bulbs before danger of frost and store indoors in dry peat moss, perlite or vermiculite at 40-50 degrees F. Replant the bulbs outdoors in pots or in the ground each spring after danger of frost has passed.  They can also be started indoors in February to get a jump-start on the growing season.

Bulbs planted in containers can be moved indoors and treated as a houseplant for the winter. When you bring your plant indoors for the winter select a room that is bright, preferably one with a southern exposure. Even a bathroom will do if it has a southern exposure. Indoors plants tend to dry out from lack of humidity; however, this does not mean to water them daily. Bathrooms simply provide natural humidity for the plant's environment. If you place your plant in any other room, keep a mist spray bottle handy and give it a thorough misting on a daily or bi-daily basis. All other watering and feeding indoors should be reduced considerably. The plants will not want to be over watered or to sit in water. If you follow these simple steps and remove unsightly or dead growth over the winter your plant will extend its performance indoors and be ready to flourish outdoors again the following spring and summer.  


CAUTION: Not all plant material is edible. Though most plants are harmless, some contain toxic substances which can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, or other discomforts. As a general rule, only known food products should be eaten. In case of ingestion, please contact your local poison control center at once and advise them of the plant ingested. Keep out of reach of children.