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Watching a few weeks back Monty Donn mentioned about cutting back Buddelia and Cosmos to give more energy to plants so they would flower again and keep the bees happy.

Then watching Carol from the same programme (sorry forgot her surname) she mentioned leaving plants to die off naturally so the seeds would fall and be food for the birds in the wintering months.


Im confused. I want to provide a store cupboard for the insect world but am left somewhat bewildered at  what to chop and what to leave alone.

It seems to be a balance, or choice. The buddleia then had flowered and Monty said the spent spike should be cut to encourage lower buds to break. That's if you wanted more flowers. If not leave it for the insects. Cosmos is a candidate for the famous Chelsea chop treatment. I pinch and cut and pot on cosmos to create big bushy plants to plant out. Then mid June or later I cut the whole plant back to encourage new flush and prolonged flowering until the frost. If you leave cosmos with dead heads you will have short floweriing season

I think the tough answer is that it is confusing and the presenters gloss over these ideas very quickly. Which is why so many people are asking for help on forums.

Many annual plants will keep trying to flower if you keep dead heading them until they give up. I think Carol was referring to more architectural plants like sea hollys and umbellifers.

I actually cut off my sunflower heads and leave them under shrubs for the wildlife.

I wish I could give you a general rule but I think you have to learn about each plant. I did not know that Buddleia re flower so you learn something new every day.



Bit of confusion here-a buddleia cut back now is unlikely to flower again until next year.



My Buddleias are re - flowering again due to cutting back about 3 weeks ago.

Kate1123 i like your idea about the sunflower heads.


Thanks everyone for your words of advice - Christopher Kate and Sotongeoff. I will take on board what each and everyone of you say.


Buddleias, if their principal flower spike is removed after floweriing, will encourage more flowers. I do just this, as Cia has done very successfully. I think it should be done just as the flower is going over. It also keeps buddleias more compact.

Indeed Christopher2. I dont where i would be without this forum.


I saw this programme and went out the next day and cut the spent buds off my buddleia.  Today, I did it again and it was two shoots to the side of the head I cut off about 3 weeks ago.  My budd is still covered in Red Admirals so it's been a good year for it (which is Royal Red I think - inherited with house).



How wonderful. I love to encourage the butterflies too.

flowering rose

I cut back my buddleia this time of year,this produces bigger flowers in the summer and keeps it under control.,and you can get rid of the seeds and branches before hopeful they seed everywhere.


Thank you Flowering rose.


i git back my buddlehia also.. and they re flowered further down the stem.. and as said the plant ends up a nice compact shape at the end of it.. my white one is on its lats flowers now i think.


I would like to know how and when I plant Knautica Macadonica seeds.

Thank you Pat 


February, indoors, use seed compost, I would use a plastic bag to keep them warm and moist.

I 'm confused now, I always thought buddlia was cut back to the ground in May and just trimed to stop wind rock over the winter.  Is it better to cut right back now?


lavenderlass wrote (see)

I 'm confused now, I always thought buddlia was cut back to the ground in May and just trimed to stop wind rock over the winter.  Is it better to cut right back now?

I will repeat what I have written elsewhere-in my experience it makes little difference when you cut it back-I have done it at this time of year with no problems-one thing I have learnt is that you cant kill as buddleia-honestly I would do it now- job done

Paul N


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