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Pruning old Buddleia

Can anyone please give me some advice as to how to go about pruning a very large overgrown, old and very thick stemmed Buddleia. Having practically killed off a forsythia which I thought would grow back and didn't, have lost confidence in pruning! Any help would be most appreciated.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 66,238
    edited 21 February
    When I was a child I remember Pa cutting an old very thick-trunked buddleja back to about knee height ... it was so thick he used a saw. It was fine and bloomed beautifully later that year. 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • debs64debs64 West Midlands, on the edge of the Black Country Posts: 3,066
    I agree, cut it back hard now and you will get lots of flowers in summer. 
  • One word, 'Violently'.

    They are almost impossible to kill by cutting back, so have at it. You can prune it down to near ground level. But feeding and mulching afterwards is kind.

    This isn't true of everything--in general, prune after flowering, and aim to take out one third of the old growth, if you want to renew your shrub.
  • M99M99 Posts: 15
    Many thanks to Dovefromabove, debs64 & Cambridgerose12 for all your very helpful comments. It is much appreciated and now feel confident to give it a good trim.
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 10,070
    If there is any sign of growth down low on each of the stems you want to cut back hard, cut them just above that growth.  It's not essential as they usually develop more from even bare stubs, but I've always done it that way and have kept one going for about 20 years so far. :)
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • M99M99 Posts: 15
    Many thanks to BobTheGardener for your helpful comment. I will take note of what you said - much appreciated.
  • Buddleias are a great plant for people low on confidence. My neighbour backed his car over one growing on the edge of my front garden snapping it down to about 2 inches. As if just to mock him it grew back bigger and stronger. You really can't go wrong with buddleias.
  • M99M99 Posts: 15
    Many thanks Lupin Loopy - your comment has given me a lot more hope that's for sure! - much appreciated.
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 4,701
    There are two common types of Buddleia.  The Butterfly bush, with long conical flower heads, and globosa with round heads.  Both will survive extreme pruning, but you won't get any flowers this year if it's globosa.  Still worth biting the bullet and getting the job done.
  • M99M99 Posts: 15
    Many thanks to KT53 for your very helpful tip, it is much appreciated. Hopefully by the sound of things I won't be able to kill it off, which is a relief!
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