Q.Butterfly bush losing leaves
I live in NC and bought a butterfly bush this summer. I have it in a planter on my deck that gets plenty of sunshine. In the last month most of the original leaves have dropped off, no more flowers are coming along and the green leaves are very small. There is new leaves appearing on the bottom stems but not really growing. I don’t know what to do with it.
There could be several reasons for leaf drop. The container may be too small for the root system at this point; the bush may have depleted soil nutrients; watering infrequently or not deeply will stress the plant or it may be heat stressed. Large plants in containers don't, in my opinion, do as well late in the season as in-ground plants. Soilless mixes heat up, dry out (and are hard to remoisten) and have few nutrients late in the season. Any one of those conditions causes stress to the plant. Now would be a good time to cut the bush back and transplant it into the ground for the winter. Only fertilize with compost at this point in the growing season.