The Q&A Archives: Butterfly Bush

Question: What is best way to care for a Butterfly Bush?

Answer: Butterfly bush grows best in full sunshine. General care would include a top dressing of compost or a complete granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 in early spring and again in late spring according to the label instructions, and maintaining a layer of several inches of organic mulch year round. This will slow evaporation. Water your butterfly bush deeply once each week during the growing season.

Butterfly bush should be pruned in the spring to shape and encourage new growth since it blooms on new wood of the season. If there is winter damage, prune this away. In some years this could mean cutting it nearly to the ground. In other milder years this might be just a few branch tips. Next, you can prune for shapeliness and to encourage bushiness or branching; you can also prune to try to limit its overall size. The plant has a naturally gangly shape and can grow very large in one season, so some gardeners will opt to prune more than others. Finally, each cut will force the plant to branch and each branch tip will bloom, so you can also influence the number of blooms. If there are fewer blooms then each will be larger, with more blooms they will individually be smaller. Some gardeners will deadhead the flowers as they fade to help the bush bloom over a longer period.

Hope this answers all your questions!

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