How Do I Remove Butterfly Bush?

“I just moved into a new house and will be removing a butterfly bush. How much of the root ball do I need to remove so it doesn’t come back?” Question from MaryAnn of Portland, Oregon

Answer: Though beautiful, standard butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) tend to be very weedy and invasive, which is why gardeners often remove it. Remove the whole root system to make sure that it does not come back. The process will require sharp hand pruners or loppers, good garden gloves, and a sharp, heavy spade. Cut back all of the top growth, so you don’t have branches in the way when you start digging. Then dig deeply around the rootball, and pull it up when it’s fully loose. It should not be too difficult. Butterfly bushes don’t have very dense, deep root systems, so they are fairly easy to remove. Let me know if you want any ideas for replacements!

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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