Button bush captured my imagination with its wily spiked spheres covered in bees and butterflies during a summer stroll at Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge. It was one of the first plants I introduced to my yard, and has been appreciated by the local pollinators ever since.

Common Name: Buttonbush
Scientific Name: Cephalanthus occidentalis
Family: Rubiaceae

Buttonbush attracts pollinators to the garden.

Buttonbush attracts pollinators to the garden.



  • Bird habitat
  • Deer-resistant border plant
  • Erosion control
  • Honeybee forage
  • Nectary
  • Rain gardens

Forest Garden Designing

  • Plant Type: Shrub or small tree
  • Plant Leaf Type: Deciduous
  • Layer Use: Understory
  • Pollination: Self-fertile
  • Flowering: Fused flowers from June through September
  • Leaf Shape: Ovate or ovate-oblong
  • Height: 10 feet
  • Width: 6-8 feet

Planting Considerations

  • USDA Hardiness Zone: 5-9
  • Light: Full-part sun
  • Shade: Tolerates moderate shade
  • Moisture: Adaptable; thrives in waterlogged soils and tolerates drought
  • pH: 6.5-7.5


Propagate from cuttings or plant seeds in early spring.


Extremely hardy. Prune back to desired size in winter.

Extra Benefits

  • Superb forage for native bees, honeybees, and hummingbirds.

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