The Q&A Archives: How Much Do I Really Need To Prune A Butterfly Bush

Question: I have a mature butterfly bush, it's about six feet tall. Everywere I have looked it says to prune back realy hard to about two inches, is this right? The trunk is about two and a half inches in diameter. I am afraid of cutting back too much.WHAT DO I DO ?????? .

Answer: Butterfly bushes can be pruned several ways. One method is to prune it off close to the ground to renew it if it has become overgrown and gangly, or if the winter has damaged it (or even killed it back tot he ground) severely. This will stimulate new growth from the roots and also help to control overall size. In warmer areas, the shrubs can become very large and this pruning method occasionally makes very good sense. Some gardeners prefer to prune away any winter killed branches and then prune lightly a bit for overall shape and to encourage branching so the plant grows denser. This will result in more flowers, because the blooms form at the branch tips. It's really a matter of personal preference. If you are happy with the shape, you don't really have to prune it at all.

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