Butterfly bush

ford8nn(z4IL)September 14, 2011

Do you cut off a butterfly bush? Spring or fall? Should it be mulched over winter, or just leave it bare? I planted one a year ago this fall and thought it was dead in the spring and went to cut it off and saw the green growth.

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finchelover(5b-6)

I like to do mine in the early spring just when you see a little green I trim down to about 6 inches. Some people like to do it in Fall but I think my way it has some winter protection and also the winter birds use it for protection also

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 9:11PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

I like to wait until spring to cut mine back and mulch them well for winter. Last year I forgot and cut them back in the fall but we had a huge amount of snow all winter so no problem.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 11:18PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

...thought it was dead in the spring and went to cut it off and saw the green growth. BB's are one of the last plants to break dormancy.

There are far more people who will say that BB's trimmed in the fall are more likely to die over winter. Pruning in spring after new growth is apparent also allows you to avoid leaving any dead branches, and to get the best shape from the known live branches. Another bonus of spring trimming is that you can take the live cuttings and stick them in the ground or pots for new bushes.

This particular question gets discussed often on different GW forums. Search and read for TONS more info.

Should it be mulched over winter, or just leave it bare? Whatever you did last winter, do that again. It worked.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 11:42AM
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linlily(z5/6PA)

Definitely prune in the spring. You stand a chance of losing your BB over winter if you prune it back now.

Sometimes they break dormancy so late, many gardeners think they are dead. So be patient and wait quite a while before you give them a death certificate!

My daughter planted a Pink Delight this summer and my advice to her was to mulch it in heavily as soon as the really cold weather starts here. My experience has been that if you can get your BB through its first winter, you should have it for years. A little extra mulch over winter never hurts.

Linda

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 6:18PM
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mamasllamas(6)

I pruned mine in the fall last year 3 bushes completely died, I'll be trimming in the spring from now on.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 10:36PM
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