The Q&A Archives: Butterfly Bush Transplanting

Question: I transplanted a beautiful 7 foot butterfly bush several weeks ago and it is not fairing so well. When transplanted we dug a large hole 2X the root system and used potting soil mixed with the ground dirt. We gave it some miracle grow to try to maximize chance of survival. It has been cool and we have watered it regularly. All the leaves have drooped and are starting to fall off and we are concerned we will lose it especially now that some hot weather is upon us.
Any suggestions for saving our beloved bush?
Was thinking of trimming it down to 3-4 feet so less plant has a chance to absorb soil nutrients. Not sureif this will dol it in. Please advise. Thanks.

Answer: I wouldn't prune it at this point - you don't want to further stress your butterfly bush. Instead, just water it deeply once each week (twice in really hot weather) and give it some time to adjust to its new home. As soon as the roots become established it will perk up. When you see new growth, you'll know it is firmly established and you can prune out anything that's obviously dead. Deep watering is the key. Try mounding soil up in a ring around the base of the plant to use as a water basin or water well. Fill the basin with water, allow it to drain and then fill it a second time. This will concentrate the moisture directly over the root mass and allow it to trickle down and wet the entire root mass. Do this once (or twice) a week. Your plant should perk up soon. What's nice about butterfly bushes is that they grow quickly and even if pruned way down, they will respond with lots of new growth during the spring and summer months.

Best wishes with your landscape!

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