Buttonbush is great for naturalizing in wet areas and tolerates flooded areas for extended periods of time. Its glossy green leaves and fragrant clusters of flowers in mid-summer are not its only appeal. Native to the Chicago area and the eastern United States, buttonbush attracts more than 24 species of birds, as well as numerous species of butterflies.
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Chicago area
- North America
- Zone 4
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Zone 8
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Wet sites
- Occasional flooding
- Alkaline soil
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Wet soil
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
- Mid summer
- Late summer
- Early fall
- Mid fall
- Late fall
Size and Form
6 to 12 feet high and 12 to 18 feet wide; upright arching to irregular form
Tree & Plant Care
Excellent for for naturalizing or wet areas; avoid dry sites.
Prune in dormant season or early spring before new growth begins.
Disease, pests and problems
Sensitive to drought and deep shade.
Native geographic location and habitat
Found primarily in wet or lowland areas.
Attracts birds & butterflies
A nectar source, attracting butterflies such as the tiger swallowtail, painted lady, and silver-spotted skipper.
Attracts over 24 species of birds, including robin, kingbird, and towhee. The nutlets that persist through winter are appealing to the birds.
Bark color and texture
Gray and somewhat peeling, develops furrows with age.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Whorled to opposite, leaves glossy green up to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide; entire marging; green in summer, turning to yellow in fall.
This plant has late emerging leaves.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Small 1 inch round ball-like clusters of white flowers; clusters held on long stems.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Hard, 1 inch, ball-like fruit persist throughout winter. Reddish maturing to brown.