The Q&A Archives: Bushes in Containers

Question: What do you think about planting a butterfly bush in a container? If okay, what size container do you recommend?

Answer: You can grow a Butterfly bush in a container, as long as you give it a little extra attention. Buddliea has the potential to reach 10' in height with an equal spread. The beauty of the plant is in its fountain-like shape. If you grow it in a container, you'll have to keep it pruned back, which might compromise its natural beauty. But, if you decide to go ahead, here are some pointers: provide full sun to light shade for your plant, and prune it back after flowering to keep it in shape. Remove some of the old stems down to the soil level, and cut back by one-third the stems that have just finished blooming. Provide just enough water to keep the soil from completely drying out. When you do water, water thoroughly so the entire root mass is soaked, then wait until the soil is dry before watering again. You'll want to give the plant a large enough container to keep the top and the root mass in balance. If it becomes top heavy, the dry soil will be lighter than the top and it could fall over in a strong wind. Use a 24"-36" deep container with ample drainage holes, and plan to dig and divide the plant every 3-4 years.

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