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Tips for Transplanting a Butterfly Bush

Excellent Tips for Transplanting a Butterfly Bush Faultlessly

Who doesn't like a garden filled with bright fluttering butterflies and flowers? With a butterfly bush, both features are achieved in the form of one little shrub. Scroll below to learn how to correctly transplant such a bush.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
Of the many species of shrubs and bushes in the kingdom of flora, the butterfly bush is well-known and beloved, for its ability to attract the prettiest of all insects, the butterfly. The butterfly bush is actually a flowering plant genus, known scientifically as Buddleja and is made up of nearly a hundred different species. This genus is evergreen or deciduous in foliage and can be found in parts of the North American and South American continents as well as Africa and a few parts of Asia. The butterfly bush has a distinct, bush or shrub-like appearance, with an average height of 5m. They bear small berry-like fruit, which contains their seeds.

But the bush's most appealing feature has to be its dense, conical flower clusters, that cover a branch like a colored band. The colors of such flower clusters varies with shades like yellow, pink, lavender, purple, white and red. The flowers attract bees, moths and butterflies and even hummingbirds. This flowering shrub species is quite low maintenance and will grow rapidly and without much of a fuss, in most gardens. However, a part of the butterfly bush care involves the procedure of transplanting, where the plant needs to be shifted to another location. Read on to learn how to transplant a butterfly bush.

Transplanting a Butterfly Bush

Transplanting Time
A plant is vulnerable and weak at different stages of its growth. Transplanting at the wrong time can result in the bush being too weak to adjust to the change in location and the plant's health will deteriorate. You should also consider the season and climate and how they will affect the plant's uprooting and replanting. The right time to transplant a butterfly is either in the fall or in spring. Springtime, prior to any new growth appearing on the plant, is the best time to transplant. For transplanting during autumn, you should wait for the bush to defoliate (shed its leaves and flowers) and go into a dormant phase of growth. This is the time to transplant. If the bush has grown very big and you will find it difficult to transplant, then autumn is also the best time to prune and trim it.

Soil
Prior to transplanting the bush, you should prepare its new location and soil. Location-wise, look for a bright, sunny spot. If the region you live in is chilly and cold, transplant your bush to the sunniest spot. The soil should drain well and not retain water. A moist and damp soil is preferred by butterfly bushes, wet and mucky or dry soil is a definite no-no. To supplement the plant's growth during the transplanting phase, use compost on the soil, prior to transplanting the bush.

Procedure
The transplanting steps include:
  1. The roots of the bush should spend minimal time out of the soil. So plan out the desired spot first and estimate what size the bush will occupy before digging out the bush from the soil.
  2. Make a circle with your shovel around the bush. The circle's width should be the extent of the outermost branches.
  3. Make a small trench using this circle as a blueprint. Measure the width of the circle.
  4. The hole where the plant is to be transplanted, should be twice as wide as the trench around the plant. This is to ensure you get the complete root system of the plant.
  5. Dig the hole 12 inches deep. Loosen the soil in the hole's center as you dig. Dig straight along the sides of the hole.
  6. Now it's time to dig the bush out. Be careful while digging, do not damage the roots and try to take as much of the root system as you can.
  7. Lay the bush on its side and wrap the roots into a rootball. Use burlap or tarp and wrap the roots from their underside. Knot the wrap around the base of the butterfly bush.
  8. Move the bush to the new hole, by lifting it or dragging it along the root ball. On reaching the hole, untie the root ball's knot on the bush and slide the bush off the wrap into the hole.
  9. Make the bush straight in the hole. Shovel soil into the hole. Tamp it down to make it firm around the bush and to get rid of air pockets.
  10. Water the bush thoroughly. Spread some mulch like compost around the base of the bush, keeping a gap of 1 inch between the base and the mulch. This is to keep the soil moist.
  11. Water the butterfly bush regularly for a few days, so that the plant adjusts to the new soil.
A newly transplanted plant needs some care and supervision from time to time. It needs to extend its roots and dig in to make itself at home in the new soil. So examine the bush from time to time, to see if it's adjusting well to the new location.
Watering-can in the garden
Pile of soil
Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly