The Q&A Archives: transplanting a butterfly bush

Question: I live on Long Island, and i have a butterfly bush that has taken up too much space in my flower bed. When is the best time to transplant it? Ive heard both fall and spring, which is it? Thank you.

Answer: Actually, you can dig and transplant your butterfly bush in either spring or fall. We choose these seasons because the weather is cooler and rainfall usually abundant which will make the transition to a new spot easier on the shrub. If you don't need to prune the plant to move it, go ahead and move it in the fall. If you do need to prune it to move it, wait until after the first frost kills the leaves and the plant is dormant. Or, wait until spring to prune and move it. The caution about pruning in fall is that pruning encourages new growth which won't have time to harden before winter. The new growth will be killed back during the winter months and you'll have to prune it off again before spring. So, move it now if you don't have to prune it first: move it in spring if you do have to cut it back. Hope this clarifies things!

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