Butterfly bush needs a lift

Asked August 23, 2020, 9:16 PM EDT

See the attached photo. This butterfly bush is quite healthy but looks like it's hunting for nuts on the ground. I think it's reaching for sunlight, but it is out of luck: it's a very shady back yard and I think it is a little too mature to be moved anyway. Should I trim it back severely in the fall? Should I try to stake it to a flagpole? All thoughts welcomed.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

Butterfly bush grows best in full sun in a well drained soil. It will flop in the shade and will thin out. In general butterfly bush is pruned in the early spring with the onset of new growth. You can prune it back to about a foot and then transplant to a sunny location.

However, it should be noted that butterfly bush is invasive. You may want to take the opportunity to plant a native plant or a combination of perennials depending upon the site conditions and mature height and width. See our web page http://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/butterfly-bush
Some native shrub alternatives include Clethra alnifolia, Virginia sweetspire.

See our link on pollinator gardens that includes garden design templates for your site conditions https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/pollinator-gardens#garden

Marian