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Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2009 7:24 pm
Location: Northern Colorado

How do I properly prune my butterfly bushes (zone 5)?

I got 2 different varieties of butterfly bushes this summer and I don't know how to prune them. The guy at the nursery told me to be sure to cut them back to about 12-18 in. from the ground, but I keep reading that the bushes bloom on last years growth. Maybe I'm just not understanding. The blue one didn't grown alot, but had some nice flowers. The pink one really grew alot, but it didn't have hardly any flowers. Any help would be appreciated. If I prune, do I do it now or wait till March or does it matter? Thanks!
(sorry I'm new to all this, I think I posted in the wrong place :roll:

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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

No you are in the right place, butterfly bush is a shrub and this is the Trees & Shrubs section. Incidentally WELCOME to the forum, hope you find it friendly and helpful.

I don't know what you were reading that says they bloom on last year's growth, but it's just wrong. The reason why butterfly bush is typically cut back in late winter or very early spring (BEFORE it breaks dormancy) is that it blooms on NEW wood.

Here's one sample citation of this:

If it is dormant now, you could go ahead and cut it back now. Some people say (especially if you live in a windy area) to cut them back in early winter, because the canes can be a little fragile and break in wind, storms. You'd rather cut it neatly than have it break and tear.

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