The Q&A Archives: Butterfly Bush Transplanting

Question: When is a good time to transplant butterfly bushes, and how should this be done. Any special methods?

Answer: Buddleia, the Butterfly Bush, can be transplanted in the spring or in the fall. It's a vigorous plant that won't be affected much by the move. Generally, old stems are cut down to the ground after bloom, to encourage new stems to grow. If your plant freezes down to soil level in the winter, you don't need to prune back the old stems if you transplant it in the fall (wait until new growth begins in the spring and cut it back then). If you transplant it in early spring, prune back the stems to encourage new growth. As with all shrubs and trees, dig a hole larger than the root mass and then backfill partially with native soil to loosen things up for the roots. Then make a mound of soil in the bottom of the hole so you can drape the roots over it so they fall naturally. You may have to adjust the size of the mound of soil so that when you're finished planting, the plant will be at the same depth as it was in its previous home. Then fill the hole in, lightly tamping soil between and around the roots. Finally, water your plant well, and make sure it gets one-inch of water per week until natural rainfall takes over.

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