Butterfly Bush Pruning – Butterfly Bush Prune Method


Butterfly Bush Pruning

Butterfly Bush Pruning

Butterfly Bush, A Controversial plant surrounded by many questions regarding aggressive re-seeding issues, finally breeders managed to develop sterile, near-sterile cultivars.

Those are known as “summer lilac,” and further on, we will discuss this one.


Zones: Most of varieties zones 5-9, certain to zone 10

Height/Spread: Varies by cultivar; dwarf butterfly bushes may be as small as 18” tall and wide, whereas others can reach 7’ tall by 5’ wide.

Exposure: Total sun

Blooming Time:  Generally, summer until the first frost; some varieties start earlier in summer and certain later.

Flower Color: Varying shades of pink, purple, blue, orange, and white.

Other: Draws butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Is butterfly bush hazardous?

Butterfly bush is not toxic to humans or animals, but not to be confused with butterfly weed which is toxic to both.

Is butterfly bush deer deterrent?

Butterfly bush is a great solution for fending off deer in your garden, as it is not on their preferred menu.


Best Time to plant:

Butterfly bush likes spring or fall.

If you decide to plant in the fall, be sure to put them in the ground way before the first frost appears to develop a good root system before colder temperatures kick in. 

Where to plant Butterfly Bush:

Use area with well-drained soil and full sun exposure. Plants are going to get sparse and have diminished flowering if they are deprived of adequate sunlight.

The flower color may also be of a lighter tone if planted in the shade.

Planting Method:

Bore a hole twice as wide as the container and blend the enclosing soil with compost. The root-ball should be at the same level as the surrounding surface.

Water it thoroughly after planting also regularly over the first growing season.

Fresh transplants may take up to six weeks to set in and get their roots established.

Other plants to aid the life cycle of butterflies:

As the butterfly bushes with honey-scented blooms provide nectar for butterflies, it is not applicable to host or food plant for butterfly caterpillars.

Publication of the N.A.B.A, Butterfly Gardener, Claims that usual source of food for caterpillars are shrubs, trees as well as herbaceous perennials such as:

  • Black cherry
  • Tulip poplar
  • Northern spicebush
  • Blueberries
  • Gray dogwood
  • Ninebark
  • Hoptree
  • Pipevine

As well as few others. You should include these plants in your butterfly bush gardens to support your local butterfly population’s whole life cycle.

Butterfly Bush Pruning

Pruning butterfly bushes is not an overly demanding task. These shrubs are immensely hardy and flexible.

Apart from most of the pruning guidelines, there is no fool-proof method to prune a butterfly bush.

However, as with most shrubs and trees, it is always a smart idea to extract any broken, dead, or diseased limbs by cutting them at the point of origin.

Many people like to cut back the whole shrub to within a foot or two off the ground, which allows it to become more manageable.

Without pruning, the butterfly bush can go a bit unruly.

When to Prune a Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush pruning can take place about any time of the year. However, particular pruning methods will help promote quicker growth and healthier blooms.

Overall, most butterfly bush pruning should be done during the winter months, in warmer climates, while the plant is dormant.

On the other hand, the butterfly bush may also be pruned in the spring with no harmful effects. Just be sure you wait until the frost has passed.

Remember that butterfly bush pruning may require an additional layer of mulch around the bush for insulation, especially in colder climates.

In warmer areas, this is not necessary, apart from aesthetic purposes, as the butterfly bush usually remains green.

Those selecting to prune during the spring, or even summer, should not worry too much, as these shrubs can deal with stress well and will come back stronger than before.

Butterfly bushes proliferate and respond well to pruning. New growth and blooms should reappear within weeks of pruning butterfly bushes.



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