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

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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

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