Butterfly Bush in Missouri

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by BJ, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone been successful in saving their butterfly bushes through the winter to spring? For the last several years I have tried various recommend ways to get one to survive. I always buy a couple colored bushes in the spring...they are beautiful all summer & fall...but are dead come spring. Maybe they just can't survive zone 5 winters...but I've got two now that I would really like to see come back in the spring. Any of you folks in the states with cold winters have any luck with these perennial shrubs?
     
  2. Kshobbit

    Kshobbit Well-Known Member

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    I live in southeast Kansas and I have a Butterfly bush that made it thru last winter. I do heavily mulch the bush. In fact, you reminded me that I need to go do that tomorrow. Mine is on the north side of my porch too so the only thing that keeps it alive is the mulching. I use old hay and a lot of it too.
    If you planted them on the south side of your house, and mulched, it might help them make it thru the cold winter.
     

  3. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    Do you prune it back first? Mine are in the open, against our chainlink fence. Last winter I pruned mine...covered with a heavy paper feed sack...seemed to survive in spring...but I think the early frost got it. Ice storm heading from you to me tomorrow night...got to get them covered! :eek:
     
  4. bonnie lass

    bonnie lass Semper Fi

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    Are you patient enough with them? They are a "die back" bush, at least around here, zone 6. Prune them all the way back, and they will bloom again in the summer, not spring.
     
  5. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    Butterfly Bushes need to be cut back pretty severely in the winter to keep them from getting all scraggly. Honeysuckle (the yellow one) is more delicate than the others, so taking a bunch of precautionary cuttings in late summer and keeping them somewhat protected would be in order. I would pile leaves over the main plant to try to winter it over.
     
  6. Kinfolks

    Kinfolks Member

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    Hi,
    I was just wondering if anyone has tried to start butterfly bushes from seed. I mean inside in a seed flat. I bought a packet of seeds last year and they came with no real instructions. I'd like to start them, but I don't want to do it too soon or too late. We live in Indiana and it is still a bit chilly here. Any help would be wonderful.
     
  7. mammabooh

    mammabooh Metal melter Supporter

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    I'm in zone 5 too. From what I've read and always done...NEVER prune it until the new growth starts in the spring. Leave all of last year's dead stuff on the bush all winter long. It is one of the last plants in my beds to start growing in the spring, so be patient. It will look sad and dead, but it's probably not. By the way, I don't mulch them other than the normal mulch that is in the beds...nothing extra put on top for the winter.

    Also, in reference to Kinfolks' seed-starting question...I've never started them in flats, but there are probably a hundred of them that sprouted up in my beds last summer. I've transplanted them, given them away to friends and neighbors, and still have 40 or 50 of them that I need to deal with this spring! They are all on the south side of our brick house, so that must be the ideal location for them.
     
  8. Hummingbird

    Hummingbird Well-Known Member

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    Hi - we're zone 5 as well, NW of STL. We lost the first one we planted a few years ago but had better results with the new one we planted 3 years ago. DH prunes it back to about 8" in the very late fall. We had the best results by buying a bush that was pretty big from a local MO nursery. Figured if it was "born" here, it would survive better here :) .

    HTH
     
  9. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    Like others said, cut to the ground in spring after new growth shows.

    Last year, my butterfly bush grew to 7 feet in one season. It's got a pretty established root system, though.

    (I'm in central mo.)
     
  10. limhyl

    limhyl Well-Known Member

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    I would guess that like most shrubs and pereniel seeds, they will need some cold treatment prior to planting in a flat. This simulates the winter that they would normally have if left on the ground from the parent plant. Eight or twelve weeks in the fridge should do it. Theresa.
     
  11. BJ

    BJ Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to all for your suggestions. We'll see how my two bushes recover this spring. I mulched around the base and left all of last years growth & leaves. Once I see the new growth in the spring...I'll prune it back so it won't be too gangly. Hope they make it....I getting tired of buy replacement bushes every year...but I do so enjoy watching the butterflies and hummingbirds visit them in the summer :)