Buddleia davidii, Butterfly Bushes or Summer Lilac are a very popular garden staple. Buddleia davidii, the most common variety of butterfly bush is also commonly known as ‘butterfly plant’ and need to be pruned at the right time for optimum growth and attractiveness to butterflies and bees.
The right time of year is Spring and failure to prune when required will result in an untidy plant that sprouts wherever and whenever it can.
We will take you through exactly how it should be done in this article.
This rather healthy looking flower looks so because of proper pruning of the Butterfly Bush. Without this pruning it would be smaller and would have gotten progressively smaller as every season passes.
This group of shrubs blooms on new growth made in the current year so you should prune them well to produce many flowering shoots. These wide-growing plants that result from properly cutting your Buddleja will be upright and arching in their growth patterns like they should be.
When is the Best Time to Prune Buddleia?
The pruning of these shrubs should be done in early spring. March is usually the best time to do this, but it is often best to start before any new growth starts up.
You will find that any shoots that have grown are very handy and aren’t prone to frost damage.
Don’t worry if you’re a little late and continue to prune as required.
How to Prune Buddleia
Prune back the Buddleia down to around 30cm (12 in) from ground level. There may already be sprouting shoots on the Buddleia during a mild spring, but this is not a problem; it just means you should prune them hard. This will make for new arching branches with larger flowers than if your Butterfly Bush had been left unpruned.
Your butterfly bush might look a little unusual after being trimmed: green stalks branching into yellow blooms that resemble stag’s antlers – though this stage will only be brief.
Buddleia is a great plant for the garden because it blooms in late summer to early autumn. It’s easy to grow and thrives under moderate light conditions, which makes this shrub perfect as an option if you live somewhere with warmer climates like the south of England.
Within just weeks of planting your Buddleia will start growing rapidly until its full height reaches about 6ft – 1.8 metres – this happens within 2 months. The new stems that bud off during growth will also send out some side shoots, but they’ll be smaller than those on the main stem end-blooms.
Once pruning has been completed, the finished article should have many stumps around 30-45 cm from ground level.
For Buddleia bushes at the back of a large border, you can just cut back to around 60 cm each year. This will have the advantage of making sure that there is plenty room for other plants next to it and produce higher up flowering stems which are more visible from afar.
Pruning Buddleia in Summer
As well as this hard prune in the spring, it is also beneficial to prune off all the dead and faded flowers throughout summer so that they will not have seeds on them. It can extend a flowering season by two months or more once the main flowing season is over.
This will benefit your plant, as it won’t have to produce seeds on old blooms or continue producing new ones when there are no more nectar-feeding butterflies around for them. Some butterfly bush varieties will flower until well into autumn.