For a smaller plant prune back to one or two feet tall. This type of Buddleia flowers on shoots that are produced in the current year so pruning in February or March will not stop them producing flowers the following Summer. Send us an update once you know for sure Cindy. But again, it may not be in the cards for this dwarf plant’s growth habit to go up. Your goal is to cut back to where the branch is still viable. Anticipation is often worth the wait! You can also start cutting away from the top down and observe the coloration of the tissue of the exposed branch or stem. Also, you should still see new growth emerging from the base of the plant soon. Look around the base of the plant and see if you see any small holes, about the size of a quarter. Give it time though. thanks When would be the best time to dig it up and move it? So now that you’ve done it, keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best. For what it’s worth, I would leave one existing plant to see what happens, or dig it up and plant it somewhere else to see. I have had my butterfly bush for 3 years now. So moving plants when they become too crowded is not a bad idea. If no bud sprouts within a couple weeks, then go ahead and cut down the old wood to the base and allow the new growth to flourish. They grew quite large, but the leaves are very fine and they didn’t produce a single bloom all summer. Lots of people are having problems this year but here we are at the end of may and you have NO new growth, even from the base? During summer of last year we enjoyed the flowering and butterflies coming and going! I do think you need to start out with all plants about the same size, mainly so the existing one doesn’t shade out the new ones. Let’s see what comes of this in a few weeks and let me know. You could help train it Sara but supporting it to a stake. If you see new growth lower on the stem, cut back to just above the newly emerging buds. If they don’t come back, it was likely the timing of severe pruning. We have nutured this plant for 9 months and has been our special project, we would hate to lose it during the winter. WT are we doing wrong? Are you fertilizing the base of the plant around the drip line? Hi Debbie. I’m glad I got lazy last weekend and didn’t replace it! I cut them back early spring this past year and they grew back great, but still differ immensely in size. Although hydrangeas are more shade tolerant, they still benefit from several hours of morning sun at least to perform their best. Below are common attributes associated to Honeycomb Butterfly Bush. I fear the worst has happened and it has met its demise. But a stargazer lily to a shrub shouldn’t have a huge impact. We have never trimmed our butterfly bushes and this year they…. Good luck. I have no idea how to prune it to get it more manageable. Again as with everyone in the east and northeast this winter was very cold. Sounds like it might just be a watering issue Barbara. I’ve seen that they need a lot of water and also seen that they need little water :-(. Hi Jeanne. Ever blooming . If it isn’t showing new growth by late May, it’s dead I’d assume. In general, you never want to take off more than a third of the shrub at any one time. We did have a really tough winter, so I am wondering if I should give the bush with no signs of life a little more time. I have three butterfly bushes next to my house (in Western NC) that have exploded in size in the past several weeks (they are approaching 8 feet tall all of a sudden) and they hang out into the driveway to the point where I cannot back my car completely in. Should I get a new one? Deer resistant, drought tolerant, and adaptable. When Plants aren’t growing in their preferred environment, lot’s of stresses start to impact the plant adversely. I live in southern ohio. Should I wrap them with anything? 5,818 views. And would it still be a good idea to plant/prune them now? I did that and now they dont seem to be blooming as well. I love how big it is but want to rangle it in a bit and promote new healthier growth. Generally, most butterfly bush pruning should take place during the winter months, in warmer climates, while the plant is dormant. Can I dig it up and replant it to straighten it? Fortunately though, these are fast growing plants and with your large root mass, they should respond quickly to new growth. By reading your answers it sounds like there is only one kind and cuting simply depends…Right now the Bush is about 4 ft high and looked strong but I just noticed many healthy looking new growth coming up at the bottom. Fortunately, you don’t need to fear them. If so, that’s a good sign. Can we safely cut the bush down to the root stump and save the bushes? That could be the problem. You could do either Diane. That is another indication. Our winter was extremely harsh. Last november the yard crew that does my fall clean up said to me “you can cut butterfly bushes almost down to the ground without harming them, they are so hardy”, so I let them cut them way down. Mine looks like nothing more than dead wood. Nancy. You could prune it back some as well to stimulate new growth. If you’re inclined to use synthetic products, a tablespoon of 10-10-10 for each foot of height is appropriate. I would also provide a balanced fertilizer around the base of your plant and water it in. We have small grandchildren and do not want to have them sting by bees!! Is this a sign of life? That’s all you need to do. They show no signs of budding. First, they may not be the same variety. But if you cut it back, it will resprout and send up new growth quickly. Frimley, Surrey GU16 7ER,  Just make sure you wait until the threat of frost has passed. But with butterfly bush, they can handle cutting back even to the ground or close to it. Is it just a cold spring causing my two new butterfly bushes to not be budding? No sign of pests. Thanks. Do your heavy pruning in late winter or very early spring. I live in New Hampshire and we had just as brutal a winter as anyone, but it did start late, so november was still pretty warm. our bushes just got to be huge so we cut them to the ground. By now, there should be some signs of life, especially at the very bottom of the plant, right at the base. Keep an eye (or finger) on the soil moisture. I think part of your issue is the one that is not sprouting yet is a sun exposure issue. You could try it for a season or 2 and then take out the new ones if it doesn’t work. Should I try pruning now, or just wait and see? My hunch is that they are beyond the point of recovery unfortunately. Do I need to attach it to a stake to help it grow up? Am I doing something wrong? We planted a butterfly bush in the summer and trimmed in back to about 2 feet tall in November. So step one is to remove dead branches. I would not prune it though until very late winter or early spring. They are forgiving plants when it comes to pruning so lets hope this story has a happy ending. Drastic pruning will be a temporary fix but you will be dealing with this problem every year. I think you should see more consistent results next year. For now, I’d cut back the apparently dead wood by another 1/2 to get back to any living wood, if it’s even there. They kept the larger one up and just trimmed up it real good. Hi. Thanks!! I knew that butterfly bushes get pretty big and it is already leaning over a little so I want to get it out of there so it can grow big and healthy like it should but I am not a gardener LOL and I am not sure if it will thrive in a yard or if it has to be in an actual flower bed. But since you mentioned how much could your prune safely, I’d take the three year approach. If it’s alive, you’ll get new growth soon and flowers later this summer. king it out for a few seconds and I am sure they are wondering too. . I just replied to the last comment you were interested in knowing about. Otherwise, it can be too much on the plant to adequately recover. Size can be controlled by annual pruning in the late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Pruning back should help with a flush of new growth and flowers this summer. But since butterfly bushes only bloom on new growth many gardeners prune them severely each spring to encourage lots of new growth and lots of flowers. The weather has been brutal. My issue is they have anincredible amount of buds (now end of July) but no flowers have bloomed yet. Insects eating them? When you prune, this stimulates new growth. Bypass pruners are designed to allow the blade to cut the branch, similar to scissors. What should I do. But with this plant, you can pretty much cut back to the size you want and know that it will grow back quickly over the summer. I live in Maryland, Zone 7, and one of the bushes is finally starting to see leaf growth. Last summer we added two butterfly bushes to our garden. The general rule of thumb when it comes to pruning is to never prune more than one third of the total volume at a time. At least 15 feet high and many large woody stems.- about 6″ diameter. It will bloom just fine later this summer I expect. I BROKE A BRANCH TO SEE IF THE STEM WAS ALIVE. If nothing else, prune out the interior branches that are crossing or rubbing or growing inward so that you allow as much light into the plant as possible. But with butterfly bush, they can handle cutting back even to the ground or close to it. im ready to prune my butterfly bush now, ? Time will tell. You should have lots more flowers next summer. Hoping you see growth by now Bruce. Yes, it’s possible to be stung but honeybees are non-aggressive and most interested in collecting pollen. I know this sort of pruning may seem a bit severe but Buddleia grow like the clappers and you’ll quickly see lots of new growth as we start spring. I haven’t seen an answer yet for my question. It grew to 6 feet and attracted many butterflies. I agree. Again, in late winter, cut 1/3 of the bush, down to the desired height. If so, consider limbing up any overhanging branches to let in more light. Good luck. It’s lovely, but I think it looks a little sparse. Is there anything that I can do to help the smaller bushes grow to match the size of the large one? If you need to reduce the height or tame other branches, go ahead and do so now also. Since we’re coming into the dormant time of year anyway, your butterfly bushes will work on re-establishing their root system first. all of our other flowers have started growing back but our butterfly bushes have not… Do you think they will? I am so sad. Butterfly bushes are fast growing and bloom on new wood. Long Island NY – These bushes are 5+ years old and I cut them back each spring. My butterfly bush keeps looking limp; the leaves look wilted, so I assume it needs more water. I have an existing buddleia that is 2years old, about 4ish ft tall. Hello, I live in south central Indiana and I am having the same problem as everyone else with two of my butterfly bushes. Some look completely gone, no hope at all. Once the plant is established enough to put our flowers, it will do so. It’s safe for all plants, fruits, and vegetables. If not pruned back each year, it will grow taller. I have dreamed of having a nice huge butterfly bush for years and have heard too many things about when and how to prune…help? If you can wait until early spring, that would be best. Also, sounds like you might have some tree canopy shade competing for sunlight? Hi Joe! Give it time. I think mine is dead. They are too big for their space and need to be moved desperately. The one on the left if huge, the middle one is a bit smaller, and the one on the right is much smaller. But it’s leaning is likely to chase the sun. It sounds like immature butterfly bush shoots. Best to wait until late winter or early spring. If not, get rid of it and start over. I just want to thank you all for all the great information. It has a big thick base, and it is basically the size of a tree in the middle of my back yard. With enough sunlight, they should bloom just fine this summer, no matter what you do (within reason). But with a plants that have just been relocated, the roots are not established in their new home yet. The butterflies are even stoppiing by alot and che c.f. But the best time to cut it back by more than a third is later winter or early spring. It’s more common than people realize that plants are often mislabeled. However, if it’s small and you care to do this, covering would not hurt and could make the difference in your plant surviving. I hate to cut them back so much, but I guess I must. I have not found one similar to my question, so here it is: in 2011 I bought three small butterfly bushes (I believe the Buddlia – probably about a foot high, if that) and planted them in front of my cottage. Moving ahead to the end of August, the bush was about 8″ tall and FINALLY had blooms. Look for green tissue once you make the cut. But in extreme cold temps, the bush could die. It’s late May, and the the bush is very green, though no blooms yet. I’m zone 7…sunny space and a recently tilled up area. It is now November 12 2012 and we was wondering how and when to prune or cut it back and how much? But do make sure the root ball is sufficiently moist. My butterfly bush has no signs of new life yet. I am new to having butterfly bushes, live Reno, NV. But now that we’re well into summer, I’d wait if you can to prune next winter when the shrub is dormant. Am I getting worried too soon? I like to use compost too. If you never see any, it looks like you lost them to me. Double check by attempting to break a branch. In fact, you only need to prune them when they get too large for the space allotted. I would like to prune it by 50% or more (cut back more than the rule of thumb) in January or February so that it will have growth on the lower part and the top. We have had an unusually cloudy summer. the best time to transplant. Butterfly bush bloom on new wood so as long as you have plenty of sunlight, you’ll get lots of blooms throughout the summer by pruning in the spring. With the combination of my pruning and the rains we’ve received this week, the branches have fallen to the ground. I would appreciate your suggestion on proper shipping. Can it come back? Excellent for cutting. We live in zone 6 and I am concerned about the bush dying. You have two options. This is a great time to do this type of procedure. Don’t let the calendar dictate when you need to prune. Thank you, As for timing, late winter or early spring, before it starts to send out new growth is best. Branches, where pruned, are brown with a white center. some say there are two kinds; those that grow on old wood and those that grow on new. May be small mites or other insects. Thanks. But, this past winter was exceptionally hard on them. We purchased an older home that came with the remnants of what I’m sure was a gorgeous yard about 15 years ago, but now is just a random collection of plants and shrubs that have not been taken care of. 'Honeycomb' Butterfly Bush Buddleia 'Honeycomb' Sold As JUMBO 1 QUART POTS. Mine currently is hanging over the pot on one side, kind of leaning. I aggressively cut back a badly cared for (or, “left natural” depending on how one sees it) butterfly tree bush last November from about 5 feet to about 12″ in Philadelphia region. But this summer, bees have taken over very few butterflies, and to our dismay the flowers are smaller than last year and no so vibrant in color. I live on the south east coast (right on the water) in the states. I found this page searching as to When the butterfly bushes will look alive again. Then you can buy two new ones. Cut back to there and you’ll eliminate any dead wood that may have occurred in the latest cold snap. Any roots you lose from the existing plant should recover since you’re not taking out huge amounts of soil to insert the new ones. Leaves are opposite, 3 to 5 inches long by 1 to 3 inches wide, varying from deep green to gray-green to silvery-gray. Buy mid-May, you should see new signs of budding at least if it’s going to make it. I live in PA and we had a really hard winter this past year, and I was wondering if that could have been the cause? They are way too big for the space they are in. My question is, as the butterfly bushes now appear to be trees with 3 inch limbs, how much can be pruned safely. c/o The Joe Gardener Company I prune them back to about 18-24″ every April. Butterfly bush is considered an invasive plant by some because it is so prolific once it flowers. However, much to my dismay, all the leaves on the stalks (about 9) have fallen off now. It is not completely to the ground. The people who flipped this house before we bought it just threw a bunch of different plants in the flower bed not really knowing much about them. One of the reasons I prune mine regularly is to avoid the shrub becoming straggly. If that’s the case, you will likely have to cut everything back. Let us know what you end up doing and how it works out. I’m west of Boston and same deal. This year, however, I have left it and I don’t see ANY green sprouts anywhere on the bush. In cold climates, treat as perennials, cutting back close to the ground in late winter or early spring. The ground is a good draining soil, not clay. What is the best way to try and save the plant? Yikes. Just make sure the roots are surrounded by soil. About 2 weeks ago a little sprout started to grow up from the ground about 12″ away from the bush. United Kingdom. Any idea what the problem might be and if I can save it? Then, notify your recipient of the estimated time of arrival and make sure they open the box and remove the plant as soon as possible after that. Autumn is a great time to plant spring and summer-flowering bulbs, which will be well worth the wait. I have electric clippers. I was sure my butterfly bush was dead and then this week some shoots came up from the roots. By removing outward branching close to buds or branching that are headed vertical, then you will promote that growth instead. My bushes are at least 10 years old. Or, it will eventually sprout on it’s own from the the point on the branches that are living. .. any advice on here forward for care.. At least 6 hours of direct sun per day is suggested for best flowering. It is now May 26th and the bush shows no sign of awakening from the winter. Although your yard crew is mostly right about their claims, I would never do that kind of pruning in November unless everything was completely dormant by then. It is in good shape and I do not want to it to die. The spent blooms are good food sources for wildlife and will fade away soon enough. I am interested in your response to the last question. The cold temps will be here in 2 days from the arctic express headed here. So, now I’m not quite sure what to do–should I remove or keep it? As with so many other plants, constantly soggy or wet soils can cause problems with the roots. I LIVE OFF 185TH 44119 . For the best blooms, plant your honeycomb butterfly bush in full sun in well-drained soil. I’m not sure it’s worth it to cover your plants in winter either. The less sun you have, the less blooms too. I really would like to, but I don’t want to hurt them, and they also haven’t flowered yet and don’t have any buds either. I cut it bak to 18 inches in April of this year. Are the roots spreading, or still in that tight circular pattern that occurs when they outgrow their nursery container? I live in the Savannah, Georgia area, and have one beautifully blooming mature butterfly bush, but i also have a new butterfly bush that is blooming, but the first half of each bloom shaft is brown….the part closest to the stem. 'Honeycomb' Butterfly Bush - 2pc Price: $19.95 SKU: CFD14361 This product is not currently available for purchase. Its green and healthy, no flowers yet either. For your hydrangeas, if you are pruning, make sure you are pruning at the right time. It is now mid April. The bush is huge with limbs laying over and the wind this past summer has beat it alot. So, you can take the proactive approach or the ‘wait and see’ approach. With it being winter and you living in the PNW, I think you will be fine. Should it be enclosed in a vented box or shipped open with a tag? I’ve sprayed them with neem oil since some of the leaves look like they are being chowed down on a lot by bugs, but the bugs are still munching away. Now might be a little too early for my taste but in your area, this might be a good time. Should I prune it severely or what should I do? I’ve been researching a lot and have read about pruning, and I don’t know if now would be a good time. Watch it another week or two to make sure no new growth is emerging from those branches. I’m so afraid I’ll stunt it’s growth but it’s more of a tree than a bush but I need to thin it out some. ... Yellow flowered butterfly bush! I have 6 of them and they are all on the south side of the house. Yes, summer is not the best time to transplant, but since your plant can easily be removed, it sounds like you’ll be able to get a lot of the roots with it. Have they adjusted? Something like 10-10-10 would be good. I think it will self-adjust. I’s now 2nd week of March. Was it the bad winter? 6-7 years. It’s likely dead but if you have the time, give it 3 more weeks. Backfill if the roots are exposed and water it so the soil fills in around the roots and the air pockets are eliminated. I would plant it in the ground now. So you might have different varieties that can explain the variation in size. Thank you in advance!! My plants always get a 5cm layer of farmyard manure and a sprinkle of a balanced granular plant food. It has grown to 15 feet tall and has one very large trunk with branches shooting out wildly from all sides. Giving them plenty of room for sunlight and air circulation will help them thrive. Bests of luck with yours and here’s to a milder winter in 2015! My next door neighbor said hers is the same. Otherwise, just let them go until then. Left to grow naturally it’ll produce lots of fragrant purple flowers but these will be smaller than if pruned back hard annually. For everyone not sure if their bush will come back I’ve had mine for three years, and this last most current winter was really harsh and before the cold I trimmed mine back but only a little cause I want the bush to get it’s full size potential. I heard that chemical fertilizers (e.g., 10-10-10, MiracleGro, etc.) Hi Emily. If you move it, go ahead and cut it back some, then dig it up and place it in as sunny a place as possible. I didn’t even have to ask them. Is there anything I can do to lessen the chance? Thanks for your help. I apologize if this was mentioned already. What can I do to help it? Good luck. Hello! Angie, I would allow this plant to grow in the ground where you planted it. These are good signs. Go ahead and transplant it now Regina. I don’t see green. My butterfly bushes look dead. I live in zone 6 (Ohio). Your butterfly bush should flush out with lots of new growth in spring and bloom this summer, assuming you have sufficient sunlight. Also They were small last year so we didnt prune them but this year they are huge. Thanks. plants. Cutting back by 1/3 or at the most 1/2 would be my preference. I recently planted two butterfly bushes in a small garden , can I prune them down to two inches to keep them under four feet? Also, is this plant being shaded out a little more each year by the tree canopy above it? Look closely for sprouts about now. Although we can’t go back in time, at least in the future, wait to do the heavy pruning util then. 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