The Q&A Archives: Shocked Transplant - Butterfly Bush

Question: I am in zone 6 and transplanted my butterfly bush in late May (which now I know was too late!) The bush was already producing some new growth from a hard pruning last fall/winter. I probably made several mistakes in the transplanting process....The new hole "snuggly" accomodated the established root system and I don't think I added enough nutrient rich soil. However I have been watering everyday. Sometimes 2x per day. About 50
% of the bush's stems are wilting and 50% are fighting back from the shock. Is there anything I can do at this point to help it along? Should I prune it? If so, the stonger growth, or just the weaker stems? Would you recommend the use of a root enhancer with vitamin B? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...thanks for your help!

Answer: While it is important to keep a transplanted shrub watered, you also want to be careful not to overwater it. Check and make sure the soil is moist, and don't water until it begins to dry out a bit. You goal is moist but not sopping wet.

Usually it is a good idea to trim back a transplanted shrub somewhat, primarily to compensate for any lost roots abut also to allow the plant time to become established in its new location. Since the plant was cut back hard last fall, you have basically already done that.

At this point, you might want to wait and see. In a few weeks it will be clear that some of the stems are not going to make it or are going to be very weak and they can be removed or tipped back as needed to make the plant look a bit better. In the meantime, a root ehancer or a top dressing of compost might be useful, but the most important thing is to kepp an eye on the water when the weather turns hot.

In terms of ongoing care, it is better to wait until late spring to trim back butterfly bushes. The reason for this is that the branches help to protect the base of the plant during the winter and late spring freezes. Annual pruning or trimming usually consists of first removing any winter kill (which may be the entire top of the plant in a bad year), then pruning as needed for shape. An extremely overgrown plant can be cut off very short to rejuvenate it, but this drastic pruning is not necessary most years, especially in cooler climates.

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by mcash70 and is called "Moss on a log"