The Q&A Archives: Care Of Butterfly Bush

Question: I have a butterfly bush in a large container on my patio, which gets full sun 3/4 of the day. It has done very well until this year. It started to die back and I thought it was going to die completely. Now I can see new tiny leaves coming back. I have fetilized it and now I don't know if I'm under or over watering it. Can you give me some help on proper care to try to save it. Thank you!

Answer: Butterfly Bush, also known as Buddleia davidii, blooms on new growth. Therefore, stems should be pruned back in early spring to encourage large, lush flower spikes. You can let it grow into a shrub form, (which could eventually be about 12'x15') but your flower "show" won't be as spectacular. It sounds as though your plant went into dormancy a little late (perhaps your winter was warm?). Cut back the dead portions, and water when the soil begins to dry. Buddleia likes full sunshine and is drought-tolerant, so water only when the top inch or two of soil is dry. I'm sure it will perk up for you!

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