En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - August 22, 2011

From: Kerrville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Pruning drought-stressed butterfly plants from Kerrville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Due to the drought, our butterfly bushes have dead branches. Ordinarily we prune the dormant plants in winter, but can we cut back dead branches now?

ANSWER:

According to this USDA Plant Profile map, Buddleja marrubiifolia (Woolly butterflybush) grows natively only in far southwest Texas. While you may have a native plant in Kerr County, we think it is more likely that you have a non-native member of the Buddleja genus, such as Buddleja davidii, discussed in this Floridata article.

Since both are woody shrubs, we think the pruning descriptions should be the same. From Mountain Valley Growers, here is an article on Butterfly Bushes. As to whether you can cut back the dead branches now-if you want to get out in the sun, heat and drought now, you certainly can prune the dead branches away. 

Pictures of Buddleja davidii from Google.

 

From the Image Gallery


Woolly butterflybush
Buddleja marrubiifolia

Woolly butterflybush
Buddleja marrubiifolia

Woolly butterflybush
Buddleja marrubiifolia

More Shrubs Questions

Deer resistant, Shaded Privacy Hedge for Wakefield RI
September 12, 2013 - We recently removed the dead undergrowth of white pines that were used for privacy. We need advice as to what type of evergreen would be suitable for growth beneath the branches above. It is VERY shad...
view the full question and answer

Monocarpic plants for Indiana
October 06, 2005 - We were in Hawaii this summer and became acquainted with the Silversword. This plant (according to what we were told) blooms only once in it's lifetime (of 50-70 years). Are you aware of any other pl...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep slope in California
November 13, 2010 - Where do I find out about the specific root structure of various California native plants? Are there shrubs that have tap roots & hence are good for steep slopes? The genus of any such plants that y...
view the full question and answer

Garden instructions from Austin
June 12, 2013 - I'm a beginning gardener putting in some new landscaping in my front yard in north central Austin, TX. The yard faces almost due east, so it gets full sun until early afternoon, when the house's sha...
view the full question and answer

Native trees and shrubs for Austin
June 11, 2008 - Hello, I'm searching for a small or medium-sized endemic or native tree (or tree-like shrub) to feature in the front yard of my South Austin bungalow. I want something that provides dappled shade so...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center