Butterfly Bush stems breaking off near soil line

Asked July 11, 2014, 2:13 PM EDT

I have 3 butterfly bushes that are in a raised bed with good drainage. Last year and the year before they were healthy and reached about 5-6 feet tall and were full of blooms. We have been trimming them back to about a foot around the end of April and that has worked well. This year they grow well and on schedule but every few days a branch or two wilts and when pulled off (easily) are brown and looking almost chewed at the soil line. I have attached a picture. Thank you so much for any advice you can give. Chaun Santoriello

Lackawanna County Pennsylvania master gardener program insect issues butterfly bush horticulture

1 Response

This could be a root disease, or as you say it looks as if something has been chewing at the stems. I suggest you take a sample to the local extension office to be looked and possibly be sent out for testing. This past winter was very tough on many plants, had many comments about butterfly bush not even sprouting that had been growing for years. Explained to wait and give all a chance before condeming the plant, as many began to grow later than normal. I for one lost two butterfly bush plants that were at least three years old. One of the patented varieties I have is only growing from one side of the root ball. Good luck.