Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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 Invasive Plants Questions

Distinguishing non-native Wisteria from Austin
June 25, 2012 - How do I distinguish a native wisteria from a non-native wisteria?
view the full question and answer

Privacy plantings to replace invasive bamboo
June 22, 2007 - We are looking for good screening plants for our new house (the houses are very close). We like the way bamboo looks it is tall and narrow for the most part, but we do not want bamboo since it is inv...
view the full question and answer

Eucalyptus tree for Spring, Texas
October 31, 2008 - I've heard eucalyptus trees do not lose their leaves in the winter and grow considerably tall. I want to replace a decaying pine tree with a eucalyptus tree. Do you recommend that for the Spring, T...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back Pampas grass.
March 27, 2009 - When and how much should I cut back Pampas grass in the Hill Country of Texas.
view the full question and answer

Why is Water Hyacinth an invasive plant and Pickerel Weed isn't in Metarie, LA?
May 28, 2011 - Water Hyacinth. Would you please tell me why the Eichhornia crassipes (non-native) vs. Pickerelweed (native) is invasive vs. non-invasive? What are easy identifiers for these aquatic plants? Th...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.