The Q&A Archives: Just planted Butterfly Bush, some leaves turning yellow

Question: I just planted a Royal Red Butterfly Bush and a Pink Delight Butterfly Bush one week ago. I noticed a couple days ago that some of the leaves toward the bottom have turned yellow. I don't know if I have not watered enough or what else the cause could be. We have had a very unusual rise in temperature recently (from the normal 65 degree high to around 90 degrees)...I don't know if this could cause a problem. Just looking for some advise so that I don't kill my beautiful new plants!
Thank you for you time,
Kim Cilley of Beautiful Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Answer: I think there are two things going on here - first a little transplant stress, and second, a little environmental stress due to the unseasonably warm temperatures. It's normal for plants to go through an adjustment period right after being planted. As soon as the roots become established, the plant will more than make up for this lull in growth. The stress can cause yellowing and dropping leaves, regardless of the amount of care you give the plant. Not to worry, though, the plant will replace these lost leaves later in the season. Watch for new growth - this will indicate the roots have become established. As for watering, newly planted trees and shrubs appreciate a deep soaking once each week during the first growing season. Butterfly bushes are drought tolerant after they've become established, but watering once a week during their first year is important. If weather is really hot, you may need to water the plants twice a week. Best wishes with your new plants!

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