When can I cut back my butterfly bush and very tall thick trucked rose bush?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Henry in Kentucky: The best time to prune both your rose and your butterfly bush is late winter/early spring before new growth begins. Pruning while they are dormant will make them less susceptible to winter injury and other potential problems. If your reason for pruning is to remove dead/diseased or crossing canes, this can and should be done as soon as you notice them regardless of the time of year. As a general rule, it is best not to remove more than one-third of the rose each season. Do this year after year to maintain the size you want. Butterfly bushes (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. Prune your butterfly bush as far back as a foot or two from the base of the plant. When pruning anything in the garden, make sure to use a clean, sharp, and rust-free pair of pruners. Make your cuts flush to the nearest intersecting branch so there are no stubs. 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.