Pruning Butterfly-bush

Pruning buddleia

Pruning Butterfly-bushPruning buddleia is a must if you want to maintain it in the best condition possible. Otherwise known as butterfly bush, this vigorous and fast-growing plant is a favourite of many garden lovers. Originally from China, its fragrant flowers come in many shades of purple, white, pink, lemon and orange; buddleia truly takes the breath away with its display of vibrant colours. Butterflies, bumblebees and bees especially love it and will turn your yard into a hive of activity as they joyfully collect nectar from the large flowers plumes. Pruning your butterfly bush is an absolute necessity if you want to encourage it to flower abundantly. The flowers of buddleia grow at the end of young shoots which are stimulated by pruning, actually helping the plant to rejuvenate. If you do not regularly practice pruning the bush will age rapidly, bloom less and grow sparse in its centre. Pruning your buddleia also helps to keep this garden plant in a sturdy and compact shape. But how do you prune a butterfly bush?

How do you prune a buddleia?

How do you prune a buddleia? The best time to prune is from March to April, then June, and again in August through to October. To keep this shrub growing vigorously, it is important to prune it after winter. During March through April - if there is no frost during the day - you can cut the bush back to about thirty centimetres above the ground. This will encourage the plant to form new shoots quickly once again. To encourage a lush flowering in August, it is important to prune in June as well. Cut all the buds from the shoots at the beginning of June, and as a result, this will cause them to branch out. With butterfly bush, the flowers grow at the end of the shoots; the more branches and shoots, then more flowers you will have. Once the butterfly tree is in full bloom in August, it is advised to continue pruning by deadheading the old flowers.

Prune buddleia in autumn

For a long and exuberant bloom that lasts throughout the summer, it is advisable to prune your buddleia in autumn. This will allow you to cut away as much of the faded flower plumes as possible when the bush is in bloom again in the months of August, September and October. Through pruning, you stimulate the plant to create new flower buds and to continue flowering for a long time. Do not cut back this bush radically in the autumn though, as there is a good chance the branches will freeze during a cold winter not survive. Only cut away the faded flowers in the autumn, and save the real pruning work until the end of winter (March to April).

Propagating buddleia

Pruning Butterfly-bushPropagating buddleia is the perfect way to enjoy more of these beautiful garden plants, with winter being the preferred time for propagation. Taking buddleia cuttings is a fairly simple task, and only requires a little bit of patience to be successful. So, how do you make cuttings from a butterfly bush? Cut a number of woody branches from the bush with a good pair of pruning shears. Remove the side branches and leaves to around three to four centimetres from the main branch, and then divide the main branch into pieces of about twenty centimetres long. When dividing the main branch make sure that you always cut your sticks just under a pair of leaves, and that there are at least two leaf nodes per cutting. Tie the cuttings together and remove the remaining branches and leaves at the base. Then plant the bundled cuttings in a sheltered spot in the garden to allow them to take root. Between mid-March and the end of April take the sticks out of the ground and plant them in rows separated at intervals of about thirty centimetres apart. Top the cuttings regularly to two pairs of leaves on the main branch, and after a year your cuttings will have grown into a beautiful, sturdy young plant that can be moved to any spot in the garden. You see, planting a butterfly bush is not that difficult after all!

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