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Springtime Worries: Is my butterfly bush dead?

Spring brings so much excitement to the garden, but also some worries! You may be noticing newly emerging leaves and flower buds on some of your favorite plants. However, even though it's warm and sunny, a few plants may still be acting like it's winter. You may be wondering, "did my plant survive the winter?"

Don't jump to any conclusions yet. Your plants might still be fine! Perennials and shrubs enter "dormancy" in the winter to conserve energy, which is basically one long nap. Some plants are still sleepyheads when spring rolls around, and are slower to leaf out in the garden.


Butterfly bush (Buddleia) is notorious for hitting the snooze button. So, we aren't surprised when we are frequently asked, "is my butterfly bush dead?" We know it's hard to be patient with all the excitement of spring, but that's exactly what butterfly bushes need. Give them a few extra weeks in the spring to push out new growth. In cold climates, you may have to wait until June! 

Butterfly Bush

Don't worry; they will reward your patience with incredible blooms that persist through the summer. Butterfly bushes aren't the only plants that are slow to wake up. Here are some other plants that appreciate some extra time to get going in spring:

Plants still not waking up in early summer? Ok, your plant might actually be dead. If you still don't see any emerging leaves, check for buds! While some viable buds are a good sign, the best way to know is by looking at the stems. Alive stems are firm, yet still pliable. When you cut or scrape them, there will be a green cast on the inside. If the stems are dry and brittle, they are likely dead and should be removed. Finding a few dead branches doesn't mean it's the end! Be thorough when checking all the stems before declaring your plant dead.

If you have questions, let us know! Comment your questions below or reach out through our contact us page. We have a team of horticulturalists who are here to help!

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