Bee harsh on buddleia!

PUBLISHED: 10:35 23 March 2006 | UPDATED: 14:38 12 May 2010

Honey-smelling Buddleia need harsh pruning

Honey-smelling Buddleia need harsh pruning

IT is time to do a little more pruning if you have winter jasmine and buddleia growing in your garden. Winter jasmine should have stopped flowering by now after a period in bloom lengthened this year by the prolonged low temperatures in recent weeks. Kee

IT is time to do a little more pruning if you have winter jasmine and buddleia growing in your garden. Winter jasmine should have stopped flowering by now after a period in bloom lengthened this year by the prolonged low temperatures in recent weeks. Keep the main framework in place and then cut back all the side shoots which have flowered to a pair of buds near the leading stems since next year's blooms will be produced on new growth. Winter jasmine tends to flop about and needs to be tied to a support or fence and any which has become badly tangled during the winter should be re-trained now. If stems are allowed to grow along the surface of the soil they will soon develop roots and start new plants. This can be a mixed blessing, good if more plants are required but undesirable if they crowd out other plants. Either way they are easily moved since they have shallow roots. Buddleia are sometimes known as butterfly bushes since their flowers smell of honey and are a magnet for bees in late summer when they come into bloom. This month they should be hard pruned to ensure plenty of young growth which will produce the next crop of flowers. Cut back to within a couple of inches of the old wood keeping the main shape, but removing most of last summer's growth. This will leave the bushes looking a bit sad, but once growth starts again the new stems and leaves will soon provide a fresh, attractive appearance. If buddleias are left unpruned they will continue to grow and produce flowers, but these will be rather small and the branches will become dense with crossing stems. There is one other job needing secateurs. If you grow cornus or willow for bark colour cut back all stems to a couple of inches above the soil to encourage new young shoots which will provide the brightest stem colour for next winter.

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