How to Prune a Butterfly Bush

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Butterfly bushes are easy to maintain with a little pruning. Learn how to prune your butterfly bush to keep it looking its best.

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Introduction

Pruning a butterfly bush (Buddleja spp.) is a simple task that offers big rewards. Butterfly bushes are one of the few shrubs that bloom on new wood, so they can be cut back severely in late winter or early spring and still put on a spectacular show come summer. They’re also relatively carefree, tolerant of poor soil and drought, and deer resistant.

What is a Butterfly Bush?

A butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is a deciduous shrub that produces long, dense clusters of small flowers. It gets its name from the fact that it attracts butterflies. The bush grows to be about 6 to 8 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide. It blooms from July to September with fragrant flowers that come in shades of pink, purple, red, and white. Butterfly bushes are low-maintenance plants that are easy to care for.

The Benefits of Pruning a Butterfly Bush

Pruning a butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) correctly will encourage a bountiful bloom of vibrant flowers come summer. This deciduous shrub grows quickly, reaching a height and spread of 6 to 10 feet. Although it is shaped naturally into an upright oval, the plant may become leggy if not properly pruned. Once the plant blossoms in mid-summer, deadheading regularly will promote continued blooming until frost.

Butterfly bush grows in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 5 through 9 and sports long, cone-shaped clusters of fragrant flowers in shades of pink, purple, red, blue or white, depending on the variety. The shrub’s flowers are a favorite nectar source for butterflies, as well as bees and Hummingbird Clearwing moths.

When to Prune a Butterfly Bush

Pruning a butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is a relatively easy task that reaps great rewards. By pruning at the right time of year, you can encourage more blooms, a bushier growth habit, and tidier overall appearance. Read on to learn when and how to prune your butterfly bush.

Butterfly bushes are fast-growing shrubs that can reach 6 to 12 feet tall and wide at maturity. They bloom on new wood, so the best time to prune is late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. You can also do some light shaping in summer after the bush has finished flowering.

How to Prune a Butterfly Bush

Pruning a butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) is essential to keeping the plant both attractive and healthy. This fast-growing shrub can reach 6 to 12 feet in height and width, but it responds well to pruning and can even be kept as a small bush or hedge. The best time to prune butterfly bushes is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins.

There are two main ways to prune a butterfly bush – by shape or by size. To prune by shape, simply remove any dead, diseased, or damaged branches, as well as any branches that are growing in toward the center of the plant. You can also remove any branches that are crossing over or rubbing against other branches. When pruning by size, simply cut back all of the branches by about one-third their length.

Butterfly bushes bloom on new growth, so don’t be afraid to cut back hard – you won’t damage the plant and it will quickly bounce back with fresh new growth and an abundance of flowers.

Conclusion

Pruning a butterfly bush is an important part of its annual care. Butterfly bushes can be pruned in early spring, before new growth begins. Heavy pruning can be done every 3-5 years, to keep the plant from getting too large.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books

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