Buttonbush is a native shrub with four-season year-round interest and brings value to wildlife.
Flowers arrive in spring. They are perfectly round one inch fragrant flowers in white or pale pink. Buttonbush flowers are studded all over with prominent, round-headed pistils, which makes them look like pincushions.
Bees, hummingbirds and butterflies use the flowers as a nectar source. Reddish-brown fruit follows the flowers and persists through the winter. Water birds eat buttonbush seeds.
Cephalanthus occidentalis is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub growing 6-12 ft tall and 4-7 ft wide. Its stems and trunks usually become twisted with age, giving it an interesting shape that is appealing when the shrub is bare of leaves in winter.
Buttonbush is usually found in nature where the ground is damp or even wet, so grow it in a similar spot in the garden. It is a good choice for pond edges or rain gardens. However, this shrub is also well adapted to drier bluffs and hillsides, so it can tolerate a dry site. Just be sure to keep it watered through its first season or two. Site buttonbush in full sun to light shade and any soil type
Buttonbush is naturally found in backwater areas such as mud flats and and mucky swamps that are usually too wet for other perennial species to establish and thrive, but will grow just about anywhere you plant it, including upland sites. It makes wonderful cover to protect ducks from predators, fish spawn under them, bees utilize the flowers to make excellent honey. Deer will nibble the new growth.