The Q&A Archives: Cutting Back Butterfly Bushes

Question: I planted 3 of your beautiful petite butterfly bushes last summer and enjoyed them until fall as they grew and flowered attracting many butterflies and hummingbirds. I read on another gardening website that you should cut them back to the ground in the spring, so I did it last night. Now I am worried that I killed them. Did I do the right thing? They were just dead looking branches that sat there all winter. Will they grow back like they were last summer? What else should I do to take care of them?

Answer: It's amazing the way these plants attract butterflies isn't it? As long as the root system survived the winter, the plant should start putting out new foliage. Butterfly bushes are often cut back to the ground to rejuvenate them and promote new flowering wood, as they bloom in summer and beyond. Continue to care for your plant as you did last year and it should be fine. Make sure it has enough water when it starts coming out of dormancy to promote vigorous growth. Water slowly and deeply through the entire root zone, about 1-2 feet deep.

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