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Bringing a buddleia back to ground level

Hello! I'm new here and quite new to gardening so hoping someone can help.
We have a huge buddleia in our garden inherited from previous owners. It's beautiful but the flowers are all now quite high up, so we have mostly wooden stalks at eye-level. Does anyone know how best to trim it (next spring) to try and encourage it to bloom lower down next year? Picture attached for reference.
Thank you! 


  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 1,955
    @laurasimoniteDTlEafNH imon I think I would do it in stages cut it back by a half to two thirds in Autumn. Cut to a bud.  Next spring you will be able to give it another prune and take it down even further, it will soon regrow.Welcome!
  • steephillsteephill Posts: 2,475
    You could simply cut it all right down to near ground level next Spring. You might not get any flowers that year as it grows again. Or you could do a 3 year rolling programme of cuts - cut down one third of the stems each year until you have renewed every stem. They are tough plants and will survive such seemingly brutal treatment. You could also take some cuttings as insurance.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 32,356
    I'd cut it level with the wall in Autumn, then down to about 18" ( .5m ) in about March
  • If you wish, you can cut it all down close to the ground in early spring and it will still flower the same year. Buddleias are very vigorous and bomb-proof.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 20,519
    I would do exactly as Hosta says,  they thrive on being cut to the ground every Spring, you won’t lose any flowers as they bloom on the new growth. 
    When and if you’re brave enough to go for it,  saw the branches off at an angle, not straight across the top.  Better for water to run off. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 1,955
    edited 16 July
    I think the advice for an Autumn prune applies to those growing in a windy site. They can become top heavy and suffer from wind rock.
  • Robert WestRobert West Posts: 147
    Just to say, I agree with others. Chop it back to the lowest bit of green on each stem in autumn. Don't worry if they're all different lengths at that stage. That will cause it to send out loads of bits of new growth lower down the stems. Then in March chop back to the lowest pair of buds/new side shoots. It will soon grow back and look better than ever. 

    If it still isn't as low as you like next year, repeat next autumn.

    You probably could just saw it off 1ft from the ground it would still recover but there might be a tiny risk doing it so severely in one go. They are bloomin tough though! 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 79,270
    I’d also do exactly as @Hostafan1 advises. It’s what we did with a similar one years ago … we had to use a panel saw on the larger branches, cutting the whole shrub down to knee height. It produced lots of new growth and was covered in flowers later the same year. 

    Every following autumn we cut it back by half and every March reduced it to knee height again. 

    It bloomed and bloomed 😊 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • didywdidyw East SuffolkPosts: 2,057
    I had one growing out of a crack by my back door.  I loved it because of the butterflies but it was definitely in the wrong place.  So I cut it back to the ground in an attempt to get rid of it.  Back it came (and the butterflies).  It was finally cut out when the footings for the new kitchen we had built were made.  I miss it and am wondering where in the garden I can put one.
  • Thank you everyone - very reassuring to have a consensus on something like this!
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