How to Care for Butterfly Plant Indoors
The butterfly plant, also known as asarina scandens or creeping inchplant, is a beautiful vining houseplant known for its unique flowers that resemble colorful butterflies. With proper care, the butterfly plant can thrive indoors and add a touch of the tropics to any home.
In this complete guide, you’ll learn everything you need to successfully grow butterfly plant as a houseplant, including:
Overview of Butterfly Plant
- Native to Mexico, Central and South America
- Climbing evergreen perennial vine
- Features triangular green leaves and unique flowers
- Flowers resemble colorful butterflies with “wings”
- Blooms in shades of purple, white, pink or red
- Height ranges from 3 – 6 feet indoors
Butterfly Plant Care Tips
Follow these tips to keep your butterfly plant healthy and encourage lush growth:
- Bright, indirect light is ideal
- South or west facing windows are best
- Needs at least 4 hours of sunlight daily
- Avoid direct hot midday sun which can scorch leaves
- Allow soil to dry out slightly between waterings
- Water thoroughly until it drains from the pot
- Drooping leaves indicate under watering
- Yellow leaves indicate overwatering
Temperature & Humidity
- Thrives in temps between 65°F – 80°F
- Can tolerate temps down to 50°F
- Likes average 40% – 50% humidity levels
- Use a humidifier or pebble tray to increase humidity
- Fertilize every 2-3 weeks during spring and summer
- Use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half
- Reduce feeding in fall and winter
- Use a well-draining potting mix for vines
- Mix in perlite or bark to improve drainage
- Repot every 2 years in spring as needed
Support or Trellis
- Needs a support for its vining stems to climb
- Options include moss poles, trellises or hanging baskets
- Gently tie stems to supports using soft plant ties or velcro
Propagating Butterfly Plant
Butterfly plant is easy to propagate from stem cuttings. Follow these steps:
- Healthy stem cuttings 4-6 inches long
- Sharp, sterile knife or scissors
- Container with drainage holes
- Well-draining potting mix
- Rooting hormone (optional)
- Use a sharp knife or scissors to take 4-6 inch stem cuttings below a leaf node. Remove lower leaves.
- Dip the cut end in rooting hormone if desired.
- Plant cutting in potting mix, burying lower half of stem.
- Water gently and place pot in bright, indirect light.
- Keep soil moist but not soggy while cutting roots.
- New growth will emerge in 2-3 weeks once rooted.
Butterfly plant can also be propagated by seed indoors, though germination rates are erratic.
Common Problems With Butterfly Plant
Butterfly plant is generally easy to care for, but may encounter these issues:
This is typically caused by:
- Underwatering – leaves wilt and drop
- Overwatering – yellow leaves drop
- Low humidity – mist leaves or use pebble tray
- Low light – move to brighter location
Brown/black spots on leaves indicate:
- High humidity
- Fungal disease
- Improve airflow and reduce watering
Flowers Not Blooming
- Insufficient light
- Natural winter rest period
- Move to brighter location
- Needs more sunlight
- Prune back stems
- Provide support for vines
Best Practices for Optimal Growth
Follow these tips to keep your butterfly plant healthy and looking its best:
- Provide bright, indirect sunlight from a southern or western window
- Water thoroughly only when the top inch of soil is partly dry
- Mist leaves regularly and use a humidifier to maintain 40-50% humidity
- Make sure pot has drainage holes to prevent soggy soil
- Turn the pot periodically so all sides get equal light exposure
- Prune back long, leggy stems in spring to encourage bushier growth
- Feed every 2-3 weeks during the active growing season
- Check for pests like spider mites which can be wiped away with a damp cloth
- Repot in fresh soil every 2 years or when rootbound
With its tropical origins, butterfly plant thrives in warm, humid environments with ample moisture and sunlight. Recreating these conditions will allow your plant to grow vigorously and produce the colorful flowers it is prized for. Proper care for this unique houseplant will provide enjoyment for many years to come!
Here is a table summarizing the key care guidelines for growing butterfly plant indoors:
|Bright, indirect light 4+ hours a day
|Allow top inch of soil to dry out between waterings, water thoroughly until draining from pot
|65°F to 80°F ideal, can tolerate down to 50°F
|Average 40-50%, use humidifier or pebble tray
|Well-draining potting mix, amend with perlite or bark
|Balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks in spring & summer
|Trellis, moss pole or hanging basket to climb
|Prune leggy stems in spring to encourage bushy growth
|Take 4-6 inch stem cuttings and root in potting mix
|Every 2 years in spring, move to slightly larger pot
|Drooping leaves, leaf spots, leggy growth, lack of blooms
Frequently Asked Questions About Butterfly Plant
Here are answers to some common questions about growing butterfly plant indoors:
How much light does a butterfly plant need?
Butterfly plant thrives in bright, indirect sunlight for at least 4 hours per day. Southern or western windows are ideal. Direct hot sunlight will scorch the leaves.
What temperature is best for butterfly plant?
Daytime temperatures between 65°F – 80°F are ideal. Butterfly plant can tolerate cooler temps down to 50°F at night. Avoid drafty locations.
How often should you water a butterfly plant?
Allow the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry out between waterings, then thoroughly water until it drains from the drainage holes. Take care not to overwater.
What kind of soil does butterfly plant need?
Use a rich, well-draining potting mix amended with perlite or bark to improve drainage. Soil should hold some moisture but not get waterlogged.
How do I increase humidity for a butterfly plant?
Butterfly plant likes 40-50% humidity. Run a humidifier nearby, place its pot on a pebble tray, or mist the leaves regularly to increase humidity.
When should I repot a butterfly plant?
Repot in fresh soil every 2 years in spring, or whenever the roots have filled the current container. Use a pot one size larger than the current one.
How do I prune and shape a butterfly plant?
In spring, prune back any long, leggy stems to just above leaf nodes to encourage bushier regrowth. Remove spent flowers to prolong blooming.
How do I propagate a butterfly plant?
Take 4-6 inch stem tip cuttings in spring or summer. Remove lower leaves, dip in rooting hormone and plant in potting mix. Keep cuttings moist until rooted.
What are the most common problems with butterfly plant?
Overwatering and underwatering are common issues. Leaf spots, drooping leaves, leggy growth and lack of blooms also occur without proper care.
How do I get a butterfly plant to bloom?
Provide bright, indirect light, water thoroughly when partly dry, mist leaves for humidity, and feed with fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during spring and summer.
Following the growing tips outlined above will help ensure your butterfly plant stays healthy and blooms beautifully indoors! Let me know if you have any other butterfly plant care questions.