Dead Butterfly Bushes

windsor224(6b Upper Bucks Co, PA)May 16, 2014

I've been growing butterfly bushes in PA zone 6 for the last 7 years and this is the first year that I have no signs of life on the branches in May. Has anyone else noticed that their bushes look dead?

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Ours have been quite hardy for 8 years or so, until now. They died. We thought maybe we cut them back too soon last year, but, upon checking out another neighborhood home that has/had these bushes for many years, hers were dead as well.

Today I visited a Gardens Center and asked one of the horticulturist about them and he said so many people have experienced the same. Apparently, the very cold winter with all the constant precip was the culprit, as you probably suspected.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:41PM
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Butterfly bushes (davidii) are supposed to be hardy to zone 5. They may die back to the ground. Mine looked dead as well when I cut them back severaly. But, I'm noticing tiny green leaves emerging low to the ground. Watch and wait.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 10:04PM
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Mine are dead looking also. Even my Russian sage look dead. If they are really from Russia, and they are dead, WTF? Mine has (butterfly bush) been in my yard for 3 years, at the least. My American Beech is just starting to put out leaves, though. And the tree is from the local woods. It has swollen buds, no leaves quite out yet. So IOW, those butterfly bushes (and my Russ. sage) may not be dead just yet.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 1:07AM
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windsor224(6b Upper Bucks Co, PA)

I did notice that the only signs of life are at the ground so yesterday I cut all of my butterfly bushes to the ground. So disappointing but I see that I am not the only one. Now I'm worried about the crape myrtles that also look dead. I know they leaf out much later but this year I'm starting to see a little leafing at the ground level just like the BF bushes. Is anyone else concerned about your crape myrtles?

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 6:17PM
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I regularly cut my butterfly bushes low every year to keep them from getting too large; it also increases the flower size. So, as long as they sprout *somewhere*, that's all good.
I think the *hardy* crape myrtles are the ones with the Indian names and those will die to the ground in a bad winter. If it's really bad, seeing as they are borderline hardy in zone 6, you could lose even those types completely. I guess you'll find out!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 7:41PM
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I had 2, one came back with gusto ( can't recall the cultivar)

The "Flutterby" 'Heavenly Blue' kind of bit the dust. I had some salvia I got on sale and decided to replace it with.
When I dug up the butterfly bush there were 2 small shoots that were soon ready to break the surface. It would have come back by the roots, but would have looked a bit ratty for a few years...So I played "Taps" on the kazoo, and tossed it in the compost pile.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 3:14PM
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I had a number of dead branches on my buddleia, but part of it is doing well. I gave it a hard pruning at the end of March. Lots of green is sprouting out. It is at least 10 years old, maybe older. My neighbor's crape myrtle is doing very well and rubbing against the roof of my garage, which I wish it would not.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 6:27PM
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windsor224(6b Upper Bucks Co, PA)

I sure hope the crape myrtles live. They are about 6 yrs old and very large and beautiful. I'll keep watching and hoping. Thanks to all for your comments. I see I'm not alone.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 9:49AM
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Ours looked dead also. Now they are 2 feet tall from the ground, I am in Stroudsburg..nepa

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:15PM
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