The Q&A Archives: Butterfly Bush

Question: I live in Zone 5. I cut the butterfly bush this spring. The only signs of life I see are some little green seedlings coming up around the bush, but not in the middle. Could this be signs of life or weeds? If these are weeds how long should I wait for the bush to come to life?

Answer: Butterfly bush is not reliably hardy in zone 5, so it may not have made it. The best chance would be in a well drained soil with some protection from winter wind and a heavy mulch applied in late fall after it went dormant.

Sometimes it winter kills to the ground or close to it, but you should see buds beginning to swell on the old branches, maybe right down near or at ground level. It would not look like seedlings. If it is still alive but suffered badly it might take several weeks after the last frost before it begins to grow. You could pull aside the mulch to help warm up the soil right around it. Good luck!

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