I planted a butterfly bush late last summer and it did very well. Early this summer new foliage appeared at the base but no new growth occurred on the branches. Am I supposed to cut the dead branches back to the ground or leave them alone?
One of the greatest treasures for providing life in the garden is the butterfly bush. Hummingbirds and beneficial insects, as well as butterflies, are seduced by the nectar-rich flowers of these bushes. Most plants offered are of the species Buddleia davidii. These large, hardy shrubs (even the dwarf shrubs can reach 8 to 15 feet) are highly ornamental, extremely carefree and very vigorous growers. Buddleias remain evergreen in winters where the temperature does not drop below 20 degrees. Where winters are more severe they can be deciduous, merely dropping leaves, or herbaceous, freezing completely back to ground level. Phenomenal growth is achieved in one season even if they do freeze all the way to the ground. The normal life cycle of this bush is to go dormant in zones 5 and 6. At this point the canes above ground are dead. In early spring, after any danger of hard frosts, they can then be pruned to the ground or you can shorten the main stems to a low framework of 6 to 18 inches. If you are in a marginal zone 5 area, it is a good idea to apply a 3- to 6-inch layer of mulch covering the crown. Since it self-seeds prolifically, it’s best to remove spent flower heads promptly. This results in a second flush of flowers in late summer. No landscape should be without at least one butterfly bush!