Cephalanthus occidentalis - Button Bush
Cephalanthus occidentalis - Button Bush
Cephalanthus occidentalis - Button Bush
Cephalanthus occidentalis - Button Bush
Cephalanthus occidentalis - Button Bush

Cephalanthus occidentalis - Button Bush

Regular price

Butterfly FriendlyDeer ResistantRain GardenPart ShadeBird Friendly
Button Bush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Hundreds of tiny, tubular creamy white flowers are packed into large showy flower heads, which dangle from the bush in August. Butterflies and other insects find the nectar irresistible. The fragrant flower heads mature into round fruits each containing hundreds of nut-like seeds that are eaten by waterfowl and other birds such as quail. Many birds use this deciduous shrub as a nesting site.


  • A tremendous source of nectar for hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators
  • Waterfowl and other birds relish the seed
  • Provides protective cover for all kinds of birds
  • Adapts to many soil types, except dry ones
  • Thrives in bogs and very wet conditions

Native Range

Swamps and streamsides, even in shallow water; Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to southern Quebec and eastern Minnesota, along the Mississippi to Texas, Mexico and Florida.

Map Credit: The Biota of North America 
Map Key: Green (native), Teal (native, adventive), Blue (present), Yellow (present & rare), Red (extinct)

While hummingbirds visit buttonbush for nectar, they also visit for protein. Hummers need nectar for energy but they also need protein to build muscles. They get protein by eating insects. The tongue of a hummingbird has grooves on the side, which help them catch insects in the air.



Easy to grow in moist, organically rich soils in full sun to part shade. Grows well in wet soil, including seasonal flood conditions and shallow standing water. Adapts to a wide range of soils except for dry ones. Pruning is usually not necessary but may be done in early spring to shape. If plants ever need to be revitalized, they may be cut back near the ground in early spring.


Mature Size: 5-12ft. Tall x 4-7ft. Wide

Hardiness Zone: 5-9

Sun Exposure: Part Shade

Coming Soon!

    American Beauties Offer Solution Based Plant Collections to Help you Choose

    Quick Tips for Choosing Plants:

    • Planting a variety of native trees, shrubs, perennials and vines increases biodiversity and gives wildlife a source for food, cover and nesting
    • Choose a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees so birds and other wildlife will always be able to find shelter
    • Plant trees and large shrubs where they will block winter winds from the house and shade it in summer, that will save energy and lower your carbon footprint
    • Try your best to buy plants that were grown locally, your independent garden center will be your best bet
    • Think about ultimate height and width of the plant you choose, make sure it will fit the space you have for it when it's reached maturity
    • Plant nectar plants in groups, to attract butterflies and other beneficial insects more easily
    • Ask for help if you need it. Most garden centers either have a landscape designer on staff or they can give you a reference of a designer that is adept at native plant wildlife gardening. There will be upfront costs but they are small when compared to having to redo a landscape that wasn't what you really wanted

    Our Plant Tags Hold the Secrets to Success

    Choosing the right plants for your garden can seem like a daunting task but we’re here to help. Our horticulturists have spent a considerable amount of time researching and writing our beautiful, American Beauties plant tags to help you be successful. First of all, when you see an American Beauties branded pot at your garden center you can be confident that the plant is native to your area and a responsible choice. 

    When you look at our tag you’ll find information about the plants natural habitat. That will give you a clue to how it will work in your backyard. For instance if the plant is naturally founded and moist, shade and you have full sun, it’s not the plant for you. The “Features” section gives you an overview or plant description so you’ll know what to expect. While the “Benefits” section talks about the plants strong suits and how the plant will benefit wildlife. 

    A Special Note About Exposure

    Full sun: Prefers six or more hours of direct sunshine a day
    Partial shade: Thrives in three to six hours of daily sunshine
    Shade: Generally does well with less than three hours of sun per day. Having said that even shade loving plants will struggle in extremely deep shade.


    Best Plants for Bees - Double sided printout for download

    Best Plants for Butterflies - Double sided printout for download

    Best Plants for Birds - Double sided printout for download

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