Giving the buddleia the old one/two

I’ve a soft spot for buddleias. They’re amazing for bees, a tremendous supplement to our rather meagre native flora following the last ice age. And their tenacity means they’ll grow in the least likely of locations; here’s one I spotted in the brickwork above shops on Frideswide Square, Oxford:

Buddleia in full bloom

But, while they’re not what I’d necessarily call an out-and-out thug, they do build on each year’s strength, the old growth turning woody each year. At the same time, they’ll happily recover from a hard pruning. So this is what I decided to do.

At the start of November, I surveyed much of my new garden including the buddleia up by the compost bins:


As you might be able to see it was around 2.5—3m tall, with sturdy branches but dead flowers. I wanted to experiment with a two-stage pruning, whereby it’s reduced to 1–2m in height for the windier autumn and winter months:


It seemed quite happy with this, and so recently (possibly slightly earlier than I need to, given the advice on that link above and elsewhere I finally took it down to a stump:


Even then, you can see a shoot or two off the trunk, and I’ve been led to believe others will follow in April and May. I can’t imagine I’ve killed it, but then as they’re so easy to come by I’m happy to experiment for now.

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