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I Have A Butterfly Bush. Should It Be Pruned And…

Carol Asked

I have a butterfly bush. Should it be pruned and when?

The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Carol: During the mid to late summer months, butterfly bushes (buddleia) provide a nice splash of color in the sun-loving garden. Hence its name, the butterfly bush is a magnet for butterflies as well as hummingbirds and bees. This woody shrub has a whimsical growth habit that can become unruly if not managed. They will benefit from annual pruning, removing all dead, damaged, diseased, or crossing branches as soon as you notice them. Otherwise, they should be pruned while they are dormant, during the late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Pruning at this time will help prevent any potential winter injury. That being said, buddleia are very forgiving, tolerant of being mistreated, and hard pruning is encouraged. They bloom on new wood meaning that the buds are formed on the current season’s growth, so pruning will invigorate your shrub and provide you with many blooms. Pruning is also used to maintain the shape you are after. When it is time to prune, use a clean, sharp pair of pruners and prune as far back as a foot or two from the base of the plant. For now, if you have not already mulched, go ahead and put down a 2-inch layer, surrounding the plant to give the roots some winter protection.

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