top of page


Cephalanthus occidentalis


General Information

Buttonbush is an easy-to-grow, multi-stemmed deciduous shrub or small tree. It has an open-rounded habit.

Buttonbush is generally found in wet open areas, low woods, thickets, swamps, upland sink-hole ponds, river bottomland and stream/pond margins often. It can survive in standing water up to 3 feet deep. Buttonbush needs consistently moist to wet, rich soils in full to partial sun

Buttonbush has flower heads up to 1.5-inches in diameter. The flowerheads have many tiny fragrant tubular creamy-white flowers. It blooms between June and July. Flowering is poor in the shade and in dry soil. Buttonbush flower heads mature into reddish-brown, spherical, ball-like fruits with two-seeded nutlets. Fruits become available August-September.

Plant Information

Plant Type:

Deciduous shrub

Sun Preference:

Full Sun * Part Sun

Soil Moisture Preference:

Wet * Medium-Wet * Medium

Plant Height:

5 to 12 feet

Plant Width:

4 to 8 feet

Plant Spacing:

4 to 6 feet

Flower Color:


Flower timing:

June and July

Culture Information:

Buttonbush does best in natural areas. It’s best uses include erosion control on wet sites, in a rain gardens or water gardens, around ponds or streams, and in boggy areas with poor drainage. This is a wetland plant and does best in wet soils. It can also grow in shallow water at the edge of ponds or large water gardens.

Buttonbush needs consistent moisture. If used in rain gardens and weather is dry it will benefit from supplemental watering.

Buttonbush needs little pruning, limited to that necessary to shape the plant. If it becomes unmanageable, cutting back near to the ground in early spring will revitalize it.

Buttonbush has a low flammability rating.


Wet Soil

Pests & Disease:

Buttonbush typically has no serious insect problems.

Buttonbush doesn’t usually have serious disease problems.

Wildlife Use:

Pollinators: Buttonbush’s flowers are very attractive nectar source for butterflies, bees, and other insect pollinators.

Birds: Buttonbush attracts waterfowl and birds. Its flowers are attractive to hummingbirds, and songbirds and waterfowl eat its seeds.

Mammals: Buttonbush attracts mammals and is moderately resistant to browsing by deer

Other: Buttonbush is an exceptional plant for wildlife.

Native to:

East Tennessee including Knox and surrounding counties

bottom of page