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Buddleia turning yellow

I moved a large old buddleia 2 years ago. It was doing well, but last year it did not flower, the leaves turned yellow and it didn't grow much.

This year it hasn't grown much again, no flowering visible and a hard yellow canker of some kind covering the stems. Leaves are turning yellow as well.

There is some new growth, it's the previous years growth that's turning yellow. I did have ornamental poppies around it, which I have pulled up because they went yellow and blotchy.

Can anyone tell me please what this yellow crusty canker might be and what I should do. I also have a couple of gooseberry bushes close by as well. Could these be causing disease. The buddleia was very healthy before i moved it.




  • Alina WAlina W Posts: 1,445

    No, the gooseberries won't harm anything.

    Any chance of a photo? The "canker" that you describe may be a fungus, or it may just be lichen.

    It sounds as though your buddleia didn't like being moved - it would probably have been better to take a cutting. Last year's leaves going yellow is not abnormal - buddleias are normally pruned back to a few inches high every spring.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,851

    It sounds to me like one of the many lichens which grow on slow-growing shrubs and trees.  It does not do damage and is an indicator of good air quality in your garden.

    I note that you say the lichen is on last year's growth.  I always cut buddleia right back every spring, cutting every branch down to about knee height, a bit like this. But I try to cut down to an outward facing bud to help promote an open airy shape.

    This will rejuvenate the plant.  

    You say the plant was very healthy before you moved it. Is it in an open sunny position?  That is what it needs.  

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Thankyou so far. I will upload a photo tomorrow.

  • CiaCia Posts: 153

    Would you recommend cutting back all buddleias in spring - even waist height ones?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,851

    Yes.  Have a look here, this encourages better/larger blooms and prevents the shrub becoming large and straggly. Even the dwarf buddleia benefit from hard pruning.

    I would not be as hard on the globosa variety, they do not make such strong regrowth.  

    Although it's good to leave the seeds for the birds, if your bush is in a windy location you should reduce it's height by 1/2 to 1/3 in the autumn to prevent wind-rock, then do you proper pruning in early spring.  

    If you have several buddleias, you can stagger the time that you prune, and in this way they will flower one after the other image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • CiaCia Posts: 153

    I have one that is in a windy position and its doing a" side walk" kind of thing.image I will trim it in the autumn - when do you recommend as autumn is a long season? 

    In spring would anymore really need pruning off? 

    Thanks for the link and advice. 

    I wasnt sure how many types their were and what their different names were. I have a white one and three mauve onest - two of which are miniture.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 83,851

    Hi Cia, Yes, trimming it in the autumn down to about half it's size - that will help prevent it catching the wind in the winter.  As for when, there's no hard and fast rule but I would suggest early November, but if there are gales forecast in October, do it then.

    But yes, it will still need pruning properly in the spring, as shown in the link in my post above.  That way the plant will have more and bigger blooms. image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • CiaCia Posts: 153

    Thats what we want more blooms in the summer.

    Thank you Dovefromabove. image

  • This is what my buddleia looks like. It is very old and unloved. When i moved here 4 years ago it was in the middle of the lawn and hadn't been pruned for years.


     I pruned it back hard the first year, it grew and flowered beautifuly. I moved it the second year, started yellowing then getting covered in what might be litchen. I left it alone for a year to recover from being moved. It has new growth but no sign of flowers, older and some new leaves are turning yellow and litchen or whatever it is has increased right up the stems.

    Should I cut it right back now and pray or what? I hate losing plants.

  • sotongeoffsotongeoff Posts: 9,802

    That looks like lichen to me-what I would do is take cuttings now-when they are rooted- grub that plant out and start again with a nice healthy new plant when it is at a suitable size

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