The Q&A Archives: Butterfly Bush

Question: My butterfly bush is about 6' tall. I shape it every year, but now I read to cut it back to 6

Answer: Buddleia davidii, the Butterfly Bush, is a fast-growing shrub with dense, arching, spikelike clusters of flowers that butterflies like to visit. There are many varieties, but the care is the same; prune after bloom and remove some of the oldest wood down to within a few inches of the ground. Believe it or not, in some areas the shrubs die down to ground level every winter and gardeners simply cut everything down in the early spring. It doesn't hurt the plant at all, but such radical pruning is not necessary with yours. Prune it back to shape it with the knowledge that it will produce flowers on new growth. Since pruning encourages new growth, and new growth equates to lots of flowers, you may want to prune yours a little more severely.

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