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How to Winterize Butterfly Bush

By Cathy Conrad ; Updated September 21, 2017

Butterfly bushes are a popular addition in many gardens as they attract multiple butterflies and hummingbirds. They have beautiful long purple, white or pink flowers, depending on the type you have. Winterizing them is quite simple, as these bushes require very little care. However, there is a certain time to prepare butterfly bushes for the winter.

Avoid pruning butterfly bushes in the fall. Butterfly bushes tend to fare better when pruned in the spring, just before new growth starts. Leaving the dead twigs and limbs on the butterfly bush in the winter helps the root ball store nutrients and protects it for the winter.

Apply a heavy layer of mulch around the base of the bush before the first frost in the winter. This will hold warmth and moisture around the bush to protect the root ball from freezing temperatures. If you prefer, cover the bush with a cloth material but it is not necessary.

Cut back the tops of limbs to remove all dead limbs and twigs in the spring. Cut at a 45-degree angle just above the green part of the limb. New growth will start at this cut in the spring. This type of pruning will produce a bushier plant and much more blooms than the previous year.

Transplant any butterfly bushes in the winter months when they are dormant if you need to plant them in a different location.

Apply fertilizer in February before new growth starts with a fertilizer that is suitable for roses. Follow all application directions on the fertilizer.


Things You Will Need

  • Butterfly bush
  • Pruning shears
  • Mulch

About the Author


Cathy Conrad has more than five years of newsprint experience as an assistant editor and is a professional writer. She has worked as a virtual assistant and email support specialist, and has more than 20 years of experience working in the medical field. Conrad is currently licensed as a Texas insurance representative and has many years in home improvement and gardening.