how to trim my buddleja

hi i have never hard pruned my buddleja but i really need to can anyone tell me how much to take off and when its about 7'-8' tall the base is just bare trunk with a very heavy flower filled top any help would be great xx


  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    Buddleias are tough as old boots so don't worry about doing too much. They grow, as I'm sure you know, a lot each year. When pruning, try to imagine how tall you would like the plant to be next year when it flowers. Then look at the main stems and cut them at a height that would get you to your desired height if the plant grew, say, four feet next year. So if you want it to be six feet high next summer with all its flowers doing their thing, and it grows four feet a year, cut it to about two feet up from the ground. Then trim away any silly little straggly side shoots that are just blocking up the centre of the plant and there you are, job done. The more you cut off the more the plant will react with growth next year. If you just cut off a few inches, it will only respond in the same way.

    Prune it in the autumn and then the birds will have a chance to eat the seeds first.

  • Keen 1Keen 1 Posts: 187

    Hi. These shrubs come within the realm of needing Spring pruning when it is suggested to cuth them well back to or towards ground level to encourage all that nice new growth and good flowering. I do this but since my bushes are all mature I cut them 2 thirds back in Spring. Do though ask the experts since I cannot and do  not claim to be thus.The Bees and Buttergflies wil love you.

  • so i can be quite harsh with it then as the bottom part just looks like tree no leaves or flowers at all x


  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    Buddleias are "all hat and no knickers" as my dear old granny used to say. They are very showy up top but lacking in grace below.

  • Keen 1Keen 1 Posts: 187

    Hi. Last comment from me here - I always prune mine in Spring and I do not have "leggy ugly plants " all Summer as suggested here. The "expert" confounded perhaps. The whole idea of pruning  in Spring ( as with so many plants - even Roses) was/is to protect the plant itself and newly formed buds as much as poss - if they have all been pruned away in Autumn and a severe winter develops what then - sorry for my comments and I withdraw them  - I hope to send you some pics of my "leggy ugly plants" when they are flowering away like mad with masses of Bees and Butterflies on them beginning shortly. I will not respond further.

  • thank you ever so much i will wait for the stunning flowers to go as i dont want to take the food away from the butterflies (as this was the main reason for getting it) with the young tops that will be cut off can i replant these to make new plants or do i have to buy ones with roots sorry for all the questions x

  • Keen 1Keen 1 Posts: 187

    Hi all. The "expert" confounded?.  Heres a few pics of my  Spring pruned  "UGLY LEGGY BUDLEJAS"  - they look pretty good to me, smothered in buds. as every year.







  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221

    You can take cuttings. Not from soft green sappy growth and not from stuff that would make palings, but slightly brown growth made this year a out as thick as a pencil.  Pull off a shoot from the main stem so that you have a little "heel" left from the main stem on your new plant to be. Trim the cutting to about 10" long ( more or less, no need to be accurate) so that your cut is just above a leaf node. Trim off all the leaves on the cutting to reduce water loss from the stem and push it into some fairly moist,fairly gritty soil. If you do it in spring you  will have success I''m sure.

  • maryplainmaryplain Posts: 40

    I like to cut mine back by about a third in the autumn, this saves the base of the plant from damage by the wind catching the top growth and rocking the plant about. Then in the spring I cut it back again to about 2 feet high or even less. Haven't killed one yet!

  • waterbuttswaterbutts Posts: 1,221


    I hope I'M not the "expert". Experts don't usually admit to muddling through for 60 years before feeling they can offer advice to any other poor soul as I do.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    That's what I do  maryplain especially as the wind here can be ferocious unless you create a nice little micro climate in the garden. I have a buddleia here which is like a tree at the bottom and will need to be moved so it'll be getting a big saw taken to it later in the year!

  • KEFKEF Posts: 8,915

    Not technically helpful I know, but pruning B's...a chain saw won't hurt them if done in springimage Everytime I look away mine have grown another foot.

  • addictaddict Posts: 659

    And my pennies worth image cut back long branches in autumn after flowering and hack it to the ground (leave about half a foot) in spring. Flowers stay at eye level so both I and the butterflies, bees etc can enjoy.

  • thank you all for your help its just gone wild and need to bring it back under control xximage

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,072

    Mine are cut back almost to the ground every year, that makes for a really bushy plant, green right from the bottom, but I do cut off the old flowers as soon as they start to die, this is because they will seed everywhere, which I dont want, and you will get more flowers come, right through till late in the year.


    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • ShelleyTShelleyT Posts: 33

    I am loving this forum, great to get lots of helpful advice. I have always wanted a buddleia and just discovered today that a big ugly mass of brown sticks in the corner of my garden is in fact a buddleia. I moved in in november so it has been interesting watching everything coming to life. I has grown considerably and is smothering the plants next to it. I will give it a hard prune and hope i can get it looking great again. image

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,029

    so/unds lovely sara, are there photos

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