“When is the best time to prune Buddleia?” Question from Angie of Fort Bragg, California
Answer: In your coastal Mendocino County location, I would cut your butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.) back when your cool, wet winter hits. Butterfly bush does not look its best when chillier temperatures hit, even though it remains evergreen to semi-evergreen where you live, so prune it back by 1-2 feet once it stops blooming well, and its leaves start to flag. This will also make your garden look tidier during the chillier months and result in a more compact shrub. And, because it blooms on new wood and grows post-pruning quickly, you can feel confident that the shrub and flower buds will not be harmed.
Another factor is that butterfly bush self-sows prolifically and is considered invasive in your area. Pruning it back and removing its old buds before seedset will also reduce the chance of spread in your garden and beyond.
I hope that this information helps!
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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