Please note that I’m not saying, “beware” of butterfly bushes, I’m just saying there’s a need to keep a watchful eye on them. They can be pretty sneaky and, before you know it, flowers, shrubs and your favorite lawn chair have all disappeared beneath an immense, sprawling bush that butterflies love! It’s important to learn about their growth patterns, and the timing of that growth, so there are no surprises…like I had this year!
It’s Important To Prune Butterfly Bushes
The truth is, I didn’t cut back my butterfly bush aggressively enough this past spring. This is good and bad. The good side is that I had tons of butterflies visiting over a large part of the summer. At one point, I was even counting them on the flowers to see if I had more one day than another! Yeah, I guess I got a bit carried away…but you have to admit butterflies are beautiful.
Butterfly Bushes Are Aggressive Growers
My Butterfly Bush grew so quickly that by mid-summer it shaded a 5-foot Viburnum as well as several nearby Nandinas. I noticed the agressive growth, but the butterflies were flocking to it and I didn’t have the heart to trim it back.
I decided to go ahead and trim it back this fall, then trim it even further at its seasonal starting point in spring 2021. I will not forget to trim it back to several inches from the ground. The Viburnum and Nandinas are enjoying the autumn since they were shaded all summer. As much as the butterflies loved the giant butterfly bush, there were way too many thick branches to prune and recycle for me to let that happen again.
Another shrub that requires regular, yet careful, pruning is lavender. See an up close tutorial on how to prune lavender here.