How Do I Care for Butterfly Bush in Spring?


Lo & Behold® Purple Haze Butterfly Bush (Image by Proven Winners®)

“What is the care for a butterfly bush in the spring?  Mine is pretty old, and I always trim it back in the spring, but it isn’t yielding as many blossoms.” Question from Diane of Newark, Ohio

Answer: Start by pruning your shrub, if you didn’t the previous fall. I recommend that you wait until after the last frost of spring to prune buddleia back. When you do, hard-prune it back to 1-foot high. Buddleija should grow back quickly once the weather becomes warm, so don’t worry about cutting it back so severely. To encourage the best possible flowering, feed your shrub with bloom-boosting plant fertilizer (Proven Winners® Control-Release Fertilizer is a good choice).

If your shrub is old, you may opt for another tactic. Butterfly bushes often don’t live past 20 years, and some of the newer varieties can have even shorter lifespans. So, if your shrub has begun to lose gusto, consider planting a new one. Some of the best new varieties are available through Proven Winners. We recommend those in the Lo & Behold® and Miss series because they’re seedless and non-invasive, unlike other common varieties. When planting any new shrub, amend the planting soil with Black Gold® Garden Compost Blend to help it establish roots quickly.

I hope that these tips help!

Happy gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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