A pretty and delicate shrub, Buddleja davidii is commonly known as the "butterfly bush," but will attract many species of winged things to your garden. With lanky, nodding branches covered at the end with cones of blooms resembling soft pipe cleaners, there are dwarf forms -- growing to 4 feet tall -- of many popular cultivars to choose from. In order to keep your butterfly bush looking its best, regular pruning is a necessary task.
Prune dwarf butterfly bushes in the early spring. Blooms appear on new growth, so cutting back branches prior to the active growing season promotes more blossoms.
Use pruning shears to remove all dead or diseased wood from the shrub. Dry, brittle or mottled-looking canes as well as any parts covered in mildew or other infestation should be cut back to healthy wood or removed to the ground.
Clean your pruning shears between each cut with a mixture of equal parts water and household bleach.
Discard diseased wood away from your compost pile. Infected plant parts can pass illness to other healthy plants, or even over-winter in your compost pile to spread infection the following spring.
Remove all branches to within 1 foot of the ground. Make cuts at a 45-degree angle away from the center of the shrub to promote a fuller shrub as it grows.