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Pruning a container Buddleja

Discussion in 'Container Gardening' started by Outlander, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. Outlander

    Outlander Gardener

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    Hi everyone.

    I have a Buddleja Davidii Royal red which is about three years old and in a container. I have never really pruned it before apart from taking off any dead stems. It flowers ok in the summer but is not prolific.

    I have read that I should be pruning it now and ''cutting back hard to 2" of last year's growth.''

    Is that correct and will pruning it increase flowering?

    It always seems odd to me to cut back something that is leafing up nicely.

    Thanks.


    P7240211.JPG
     
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    • BeeHappy

      BeeHappy Total Gardener

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      Hi Outlander, I LOVE Buddleia I have sooo many of them :wub2:.....do hope this diagram helps ...its how i do mine ...yes it does seem odd to cut away what seems to be the growth but they do flower better on new growth...also don't waste the cuttings as they root soooo easily ...I cut some of mine back in Autumn and just pushed them into the soil at the edge of an empty veg plot and whoopee they have all taken ....so lots of Buddleiaelia plants to use or share with family friends or charity plant stalls

      How to prune and shape Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)


      Buddleia or Buddleja are probably one of the most popular garden shrubs, removing faded flower spikes during flowering, (dead heading) will keep all varieties of buddleia, flowering longer throughout the summer.Annual pruning encourages plenty of new growth and larger flowers for the coming year.

      Leaving on the last of the flowers and letting them turn to seed, provides food for small birds during the winter months.

      When to prune Buddleia or Buddleja
      The best time to prune Buddleia is late winter or early spring, just as the new buds begin to swell, cutting away the previous years growth to two or three buds from their base.

      [​IMG]

      Typical buddleia shape after pruning


      [​IMG]
      Cut way the previous years growth

      Don’t be scared buddleia is a hardy shrub, and generally very forgiving when it comes to pruning, easily surviving an oops or 2 with the cutters believe me, any mistakes will soon be hidden by healthy new growth

      Unless you want to remove a branch entirely, to reshape buddleia, do not cut back into the older wood, it is usually thicker and darker coloured as this may not readily sprout new shoots.The pruned shrub will have a low framework of branches from which shoots will grow rapidly to produce flowers in summer.

      How to prune and shape Buddleia (Butterfly Bush) | Urban Butterfly Garden
       
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      • Tetters

        Tetters Total Gardener

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        @Outlander how big is the container ? Buddleia might do better in the garden, and if the pot is too small it will restrict its growth, and flowering. It will also need constant watering in a pot.
        As for pruning - that`s what makes better stronger growth in the long run.
         
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        • Verdun

          Verdun Passionate gardener

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          Outlander, I agree totally with Tetters.....your buddleia would be much better in the ground. It is not really a pot plant and will struggle (and suffer) the longer it is left there.
          There are dwarf buddleias suitable for pots....the Buzz hybrids for example.
          The reason for pruning hard is because buddleias produce their best flowers on new wood, i.e. on branches that will grow from now on into summer
          If you must continue to grow your buddleia in a pot then prune hard, feed well with a granular feed, water regularly and mulch with dried manure or chicken pellets mixed with mpc:)
           
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          • Linz

            Linz Total Gardener

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            Was always under the impression they grow best with tough love and in very low nutrient hardcore/brick walls/gravel otherwise you'll just have leafy growth :dunno:
             
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            • Outlander

              Outlander Gardener

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              Thank you so much @BeeHappy. That's very informative and I shall get on with pruning as suggested. I am hoping the snow has gone for good now although there is a rumour it will be back for Easter.
               
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              • Outlander

                Outlander Gardener

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                The containers is approx. 12" x 12". I would love to plant it in the ground but I'm worried it would grow to large for its spot in the garden. (Max spread is 4metres) I can appreciate that it would flower more though.

                I used to wish for a smaller garden when I was working - Now I have one, I wish it was bigger.
                 
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                • Mark56

                  Mark56 Super Gardener

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                  Agree re: pruning, otherwise you end up with all the flowers at the top and less of them as a result (see the train tracks or gutter self seeded plants as example ;). They are incredibly tough and respond excellently to being pruned hard.
                   
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                  • Gail_68

                    Gail_68 Plant a little love, watch a miracle grow.

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                    @Outlander your a very pleasant person for us all :dunno: :whistle:....i'll [​IMG] my eyes up if it does :sad:
                     
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                    • Verdun

                      Verdun Passionate gardener

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                      Outlander, plant it out, prune it hard....as hard as you like, you wont hurt it.....and you can keep it manageable. 4 metres spread is plenty of space.
                      When you take it out of its pot you will prob find the roots are congested......tease the roots out, even cut some of the larger ones if necessary, soak in a bucket of water and plant. :)
                      Use the pot for something smaller that will thrive :)
                       
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                      • Outlander

                        Outlander Gardener

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                        Sorry @Verdun, I think I misled you. I meant that the spread of the plant is 4 metres. I didn't mean that I had 4 metres of space. :snorky:
                         
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                        • Verdun

                          Verdun Passionate gardener

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                          Prune hard and it wont be that big! You really can cut it back as hard as you like :)
                          4 metres is big :)
                           
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                          • HarryS

                            HarryS Eternally Optimistic Gardener

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                            I cut mine back to about 2 ft tall every year . In fact just pruned mine on Wednesday.
                             
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                            • Outlander

                              Outlander Gardener

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                              Ah, I see what you mean now, just keep cutting back each year so that it doesn't reach it's full size. :blue thumb:

                              That does sound like a good idea as I wouldn't have to worry about watering so much but of course I will have to check with the Boss first.

                              :nervous:
                               
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                              • ARMANDII

                                ARMANDII ADMINISTRATOR Staff Member

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                                Yep, Verdun is right, pruning it hard to say within the last 2 or three shoots on a stem will keep it in check. Never prune a Buddleia past the last shoot or it will struggle to grow. A 12 inch by 12 inch is definitely too small for such a shrub. The 4 meters quoted size is one for a Buddleia that is never pruned and allowed to grow to it's maximum size.:dunno::coffee::snorky:
                                 
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