Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

The sweet-scented, fuzzy white globes of Buttonbush are familiar to those who spend time fishing or lounging along a river or pond. This widespread native, a favorite of wildlife, is so common it is often overlooked.

Print Version: Cephalanthus occidentalis (Buttonbush)
Cephalanthus occidentalis, Buttonbush Shrub Height: 6–12 feet Spread: 6–10 feet Bloom Color: Creamy white Characteristics Deciduous shrub with rounded, irregular form Oval, glossy, medium green to dark green leaves Fuzzy white, fragrant flowers from early to mid- summer develop into ball-like fruits Dried clusters of hard nutlets usually remain through winter Inconsequential yellow autumn foliage Attributes Tolerates floods (up to 36”); intolerant of drought No serious pests or diseases Deer occasionally severely damage Attractive winter silhouette Attracts bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, song- birds, waterfowl; larval host for Hydrangea and Titan sphinxes and Beautiful Wood-nymph moth Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Average to rich Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade, Shade (but needs sun to flower) Water Requirements: Moist, Wet Fast-growing and can be heavily pruned to control height and spread Reshape in spring and remove any dead growth Use in shrub borders, rain gardens, or naturalized It is mostly frequent-to-common throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region except in some of the northern counties of PA. Hardiness: USDA Zones 5–9 Excellent Replacement for Buddleia davidii and hybrids - Butterfly Bush
Learn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets