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In a competition for the most interesting blooms, this shrub definitely takes the cake. But the Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) has a lot more to offer than to pose as a simple conversation starter.

Where to begin? This deciduous shrub was all but made for areas too wet for most other plants. Native to the eastern part of North America USDA growing zones 5 to 9, it's been used for years as a way to dress up boggy sites!

In the early spring, Buttonbush covers itself in glossy green leaves in a whorled to opposite arrangement. Its coloring will stay evenly green all summer long, and the bush as a whole will have a dense-packed irregular growth habit. As the spring progresses, bright white flowers will bloom all across the plant. Not just any ordinary petaled blooms though. No, these blossoms look like shiny, unearthly orbs!

These flowers are made up of tightly packed spherical clusters with what looks like needles sticking out of all sides. Don't worry though, unlike the pincushions they resemble, these blooms aren't pokey in the slightest.

While Native Buttonbushes are fascinating to look at, they are more often added to gardens and landscapes as a way to attract birds and pollinators. Even adding just one bush will draw butterflies from near and far. If you're lucky, you might even walk outside to find a Hummingbird or two fluttering about.

After the flowers have come and gone, Buttonbush will produce round, ball-like fruit. While it's not all that appealing to humans, the birds will make sure there isn't a single morsel of the reddish-brown fruit left!

If you're one of those plant owners who find themselves overwatering their garden more often than not, this is the bush for you! There's no such thing as too much water. So even the most "doting" of gardeners can grow Buttonbush!

Snip a few of those eye-grabbing flowers to add to your late-spring bouquets to keep on the kitchen counter. They're sure to inject some texture and maybe even spark up a conversation while preparing dinner!

Planting and Application:

Native plants play an essential role in maintaining the ecosystems that live in the region. They've been used to restore wetlands, control erosion, and create wildlife habitat here in the United States. Quite a resume for just one plant! Though it has been building it since its commercial introduction in 1735.

Use this shrub in your woodland gardens as a pretty accent or attention-getting centerpiece! Whether you're adding to an already existing perennial garden, or looking at a brand new backyard that needs work, Buttonbush is a plant you'll want to keep in mind! If your backyard ends in either a pond or lake, try planting a Buttonbush along its edges to create a fantastic border. It'll thrive in the damp soil and you and your guests won't find yourselves accidentally wandering into a stray puddle. Win-win!

Shade gardens are another area where this deciduous shrub excels. It'll do just fine in the partial shade and you'll find yourself with plenty of birds, hummingbirds, and pollinators taking advantage of the reprieve from the sun. If you're a bird enthusiast, then Buttonbush is a must-have addition to your birdwatching garden. One bush can sometimes attract upwards of 20 different bird species!

Larger spaces are also a great place to use Buttonbushes. Place a few together to create a stunning mass planting that's sure to be the talk of the town. Water gardens, ponds, Rain Gardens, or simply hide the soggy area where the HVAC unit drains.

Planting near your patio is a great idea! Not only will it create an interesting outdoor texture that you can admire while lounging in the summer sun, or light up the night in your Moon Garden! It's sure to pique the interest of any guests you have over.

  • Native to North America
  • White Spherical Cluster Flower Heads
  • Green Textured Foliage
  • Brings Butterflies & Birds to Your Yard
  • Blossoms Are Bouquet Interest
  • Hedges, Water Gardens, Erosion & Unique Specimens

#ProPlantTips for Care:

We've all been there. We buy a brand new plant and can't wait to take the best care of it. Most of us have lost a plant or two to our unfortunate over-desire to overwater. The good news is that there is almost no possible way you overwater a Buttonbush. They're known for how well they do in damp soil and even flooded areas! Standing water is no match for this plant's adaptability!

Plus, as we mentioned earlier, this is a native plant! This water lover tolerates almost anything thrown at it, except drought of course! You can plant in full sun or partial shade and Buttonbush will do just fine, in hotter climates they can tolerate more shade.

Pruning probably isn't something you'll need to worry about, but cutting the bush back near the ground with a sharp pair of shears in the late winter can revitalize quite well. Renewal pruning every 3-5 years helps too! Simply remove the oldest fattest stems as close to the ground as possible and let the younger shoots take over.

  • Full Sun, Partial Shade & Full Shade
  • Thrives in Moist & Soggy Conditions & Wetlands
  • Any Enriched Soil That's Not Stagnant
  • Prune or Renewal Prune
  • Hardy Native Deciduous Shrub

Do your natural habitat, along with the overall aesthetic of your garden, a favor, and plant a Buttonbush or two! Whether you're looking for a unique centerpiece or a way to attract more pollinators to your garden, Buttonbush is ready and willing to deliver! Order yours from our expert growers at Nature Hills Nursery today!

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with NatureHills.com and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

Click Here to learn more

Plant Sentry


To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
4 Now
5 Now
6 Now
7 Now
8 Now
9 Now
10 Now
11 Now

Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates


Buttonbush Is Suited to Grow in Zones 5-9
Growing Zones 5-9
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Cephalanthus occidentalis
Type Deciduous
Mature Height 5 - 10 feet
Mature Spread 4 - 6 feet
Sun Exposure Full Sun, Full Shade, Partial Shade
Soil Adaptable to Most Soils
Moisture Moderate to High
Growth Rate Medium
Flower Color White
Foliage Color Green
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Pruning Time Late Winter