It’s April 2 and the butterfly bushes I planted last year have no sign of new growth, just the blackish dead growth from last year. Are they dead or is there still a chance? What, if anything, should I do for them?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hi Kim, Butterfly bush (Buddleia) are tough plants. We did have a harsh winter but mostly it was the broadleaf evergreens that were damaged. Winter damage can occur when these deciduous shrubs are pruned in the fall. Pruning encourages new growth and can make them more susceptible to winter injury. Butterfly bush are woody at the base but put on new herbaceous growth each year. Spring is the time to prune and feed with a well-balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-10 if needed. Butterfly bush bloom on new wood, or current season’s growth. Do not prune the woody growth but cut back to about 12 inches. Butterfly bush are best planted in full sun, a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight, and soil that allows for excellent drainage. It can take several weeks into the spring for new growth to start. Hopefully they have started to show signs of new growth and soon you will be enjoying the blooms.
Kentucky Living-Ask the Gardener