Butterfly Bush

brian_ouimet(5 Ont)November 15, 2007

Hi I have a couple of butterfly bushes that I planted this year. I plan to mulch them with leaves but I wonder when I should prune them back or do I prune them at all. Thanks in advance for any help.


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Roxane_(5B S Ontario)

Hi Brian,

I'm in Oshawa & have grown butterfly bushes for about 5 years. I was told not to prune them in the fall because they may not survive the winter because of the pruning. I mulch the base with leaves - and then do nothing else for the winter.

In the spring, I prune them back hard....really hard. Here is a picture I took in May which shows how severely I prune. All of the new growth will come from the base.

Don't worry - it grows back bigger and stronger than last year. Here is that same Buddleia in September standing over 6 feet tall. Sorry for the poor quality of this photo, but it was the only one I have showing the entire bush.

Because it's the butterfly forum - here is one of the many visitors to that bush this year.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 10:20PM
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brian_ouimet(5 Ont)

Thanks that is what I will do.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 8:15AM
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carlajohn(5 IL)

what type of butterfly bush is that. I like it!!!Is it purple and orange??

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 8:30AM
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I also use some old coffee grounds for mulch in my Buddleia. I cut mine back as well but do so right about now (Feb./March) but I live in Southern California.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 2:07PM
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Brian, I'm in PA and trim mine back the last week of March usually.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 6:31PM
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Those Pictures are SO nice. Good Job!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 12:07AM
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Hey, I have five butterly bushes left. Out of the 20 that I planted last year, only four are left. I made the istake of planing some of them in too much shade and they got "root rot", as they are prone to do if the soil is too moist or there is not enought shade. I have two white and two hybrid, bi-color bushes, like the one shown above, purple and orangy/cranberry color. You can buy this bi and tri color bushes on line. I was just wondering, here in FL should I trim back now? I have trimmed during the season the dried branched and dead-headed to get more blooms, but am afraid of trimming down all the way? Is it ok now?

By the way, Roxanne, your garden it beautiful!, I wish I could get mine to look more "pulled together/finished". I let mine get a little weedy and leave some dead leaves for the eggs and caterpillars over the Fall and Winter down here and it seems to work, howver, getting the combination of a butterfly ecosystem and a "beautiful" seems to have escaped me? Any advice. PS I am the one who saw her first Monarch caterpillar tonight on my milkweek and two adults flying around earlier. I have had Monarchs all winter, since the milkweeds just recently went to seed. Thanks, Mary Bexfield, Palm Bay Fl

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 7:39PM
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bttfly9(z9a FL)

In FL this is when we prune anything that was touched by a frost. My B.Bush looks fine and so I am leaving it for now. It is 3' tall, but trimming now shouldn't hurt anything. I trim throughout the year to keep it in shape.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 9:32PM
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Thanks, btttfly9! Mine are also about 3-4" tall now and you are probably right. We really don't have to trim them all the way down because we didn't have a freeze here this year. Thanks a lot! Mary in Palm Bay, FL

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 9:17AM
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onafixedincome(z8-9 CA)

I'm in CA, and take the bushes back pretty hard (about halfway is 'hard' LOL) at the beginning of winter. In spring, I do the major whacking as needed once the growth is barely started and gives me an idea of shape.

My BB generally come close to 10' tall. Blame the rabbit manure mulch.... :)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 2:04PM
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