The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Buddleia alternifolia

Kent, United Kingdom Gb

Can anyone advise me as to how, and when, I should prune a buddleia alternifolia?



I would recommend cutting back the branches that have flowered immediately after flowering.

7 Jan, 2009


The recommended time is February or March, just before they come back into growth unlike your standard buddleia.

7 Jan, 2009


Sorry Sarraniac, but B. alternifolia is pruned differently to B. davidii types. Bernard is correct. Normally you do not need to prune B. alternifolia, but you may cut back branches which have just flowered to keep the bush neat.

8 Jan, 2009


That is what I said Owdboggy. UNLIKE YOUR STANDARD BUDDLEIA.

8 Jan, 2009


But you can grow B. alternifolia as a standard. ie a shrub on a stick,as you can with B. davidii types. I thunked you meant one of them. And in any case B. davidii of any type is the one which is pruned in February/March, B. alternifolia is going to be pruned in late June/early July.
A puzzled OB!

9 Jan, 2009


I prune my B. davidii (the ones I class as standard) in November after flowering Boggy. My experience is that it is just a matter of when it suits you. You can't kill it no matter how hard you try. I prune B. alternifolia in late winter, as per the BBC and RHS recommendation.

9 Jan, 2009


Thanks for all the answers. It seems to be a question of "you pays your money and you takes your choice" on this one! Glad to hear it can't be killed, especially as this one was a gift.

9 Jan, 2009


Still not not to the bottom of this. I have the monograph by David Stuart in the RHS Plant Finder series. In there it states that B. alternifolia is pruned immediately after flowering which would as I said place it in July. My other Pruning book says that it does not need pruning at all, unless it gets out of shape. Are we talking about the same plant then?

9 Jan, 2009


First. Lily. I said you can't kill B. davidii. You may be able to kill B. alternifolia by wrong pruning. But I doubt it.

Second. Boggy. I think your other pruning book just about has it. All I ever do to mine is just 'clean it up' . I do that before spring growth because that is what I have been told is best. It has never failed me.

May I tell you a story which has nothing to do with this directly but I think demonstrates something.

I wanted a couple of new Sweet bay trees. So I spent a couple of years taking cuttings in all the time hallowed methods from my existing one. Nothing.

So I did some research amongst the experts.

'No way can you get cuttings to take reliably' they said. The only sure way is ground layering. So I spent another couple of years scraping bark and pegging down twigs. Nothing.

This year in September I was trimming my bay and I noticed a pot of grit, sand, compost and vermiculite that I had used for some other, more exotic plants standing near. So I shoved three of the trimmings in after removing just a few leaves. 3 out of 3. Anybody want a baby Bay? Lol.

So occasionally I think we have to look twice at 'expert' advice.


9 Jan, 2009


Thanks to you both. I rhink I shall tidy it up a bit as necessary and see how it goes. I would like to get it to be what Boggy described as "a shrub on a stick" so I guess I just take out the side shoots to encourage this?

That was a great story about the bay cuttings and just shows that experts can be proved wrong by someone with green fingers.

9 Jan, 2009


Yes Lily. Just take out what looks unnecessary. I would do it in late winter, Owdboggy in late summer. I have a feeling either would work.

9 Jan, 2009


Cheers Sarraceniac.

9 Jan, 2009

How do I say thanks?

Answer question


Not found an answer?