Plant Common Name
The American native shrub, common buttonbush, develops striking pincushion-like flower balls of ivory in summer and early fall. These are followed by attractive fruits and russet red autumn leaves. This rounded, deciduous shrub is native to much of eastern North America as well as Cuba and regions in Mexico. Wild specimens can be found growing in moist or wet soils around lakes, ponds and streams.
Buttonbush has shiny, medium green leaves that are oval to almost lance-like in shape. The leaf midrib is typically reddish, a sign of the pretty red fall color to come. In mid- to late-summer, its multi-stemmed branches display lots of fragrant, rounded flower clusters of ivory or light pink. Each tiny individual flower has a long floral tube filled with nectar that attracts butterflies and bees. Post pollination, plants yield many small round fruits that turn from green to brown. These are eaten by waterfowl as they drop.
Grow common buttonbush in full sun to partial shade and any moist, humus-rich soil. It is adapted to wet soils with neutral soil pH. If plants become wild and unkempt, their branches may be severely cut back, or hard pruned, in early spring to make them neater and bushier. This is an ideal native shrub to plant as a bank stabilizer around water bodies or in moist woodland glens. This is a salt tolerant species, so it is also ideal for moist, oceanside plantings. In the home garden it’s a great native for moist, low areas.
AHS Heat Zone
12 - 3
USDA Hardiness Zone
4 - 10
H1, H2, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
5'-12' / 1.5m - 3.7m
10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m
Summer, Late Summer
North America, United States, Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Central United States, South-Central United States, Southwestern United States, California, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean
Bog Garden, Foundation, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break, Water Gardens
Sharp or Has Thorns