Cephalanthus occidentalis Sugar Shack, Buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis Sugar Shack, Buttonbush

Cephalanthus occidentalis Sugar Shack, Buttonbush

‘Sugar Shack’ Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, is a shrunk-down version of the beloved Missouri and Illinois native shrub. Buttonbush has long been prized as a native, but it was way too big for most landscapes. Not anymore! The size has been cut in half. It features blooms of scented white globes in summer that attract pollinators of all kinds, but butterflies in particular. Their long flower styles give the blossoms a pincushion look. The flowers mature into attractive pinkish round fruits made up of two-seeded nutlets. These ornamental fruits last throughout the winter. It is desirable to many different Missouri creatures including butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. Ducks and other birds enjoy its tasty seeds. Beavers find its wood delicious and will also use the wood to build their dams and lodges.

‘Sugar Shack’ Buttonbush grows into an open-rounded shrub 36-48″ tall and wide. It easily grows in moist, rich soil, and tolerates wet conditions, including standing water. A popular and sought after shrub, it makes an ideal choice for rain gardens, naturalized areas, woodlands, native gardens and shrub borders. It also may be grown in shallow water at the edge of ponds. 

Plant in full sun to part shade. Buttonbush prefers rich, moist soil. Although tolerant of tough conditions, it suffers in dry, hot spots. Water during the dry days of summer. If plants need to be revitalized, cut back to about 6″ in early spring.


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