How to Grow Buttonbush Flowers (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

buttonbush in landscape

By Jennifer Poindexter

Do you have an area that you’d like to landscape, but it doesn’t have ideal growing conditions for most plants?

If the area is one that’s frequently saturated, you might want to consider growing the buttonbush flower.

This is a unique flower with white blooms, and it loves to grow in damp areas. Before jumping into growing this plant, it’s vital that you understand what it needs.

I’m going to share general growing information, so you’ll know how to grow buttonbush flowers.

Here’s what you should know:

Growing Conditions for Buttonbush Flowers

If you haven’t seen a buttonbush flower, you’re in for a treat. This plant stands out for its oval-shaped, dark green foliage and round, spiky blooms that are white and fragrant.

This is a perennial plant that’s hardy in planting zones five through ten. These plants can become six to twelve feet tall and equally as wide.

When selecting a growing location, pick a spot with full to partial sunlight. The more sunlight the plant receives, the more blooms it should produce.

Buttonbush flowers also love damp soil. However, it’s equally important for the dirt to be well-draining and loamy.

Be mindful of where you plant this flower. If planted next to a riverbed, it could provide food for the birds.

But if you plant it in areas of high traffic, this could prove dangerous as these plants are toxic to both pets and humans.

In summary, when providing the right growing location for buttonbush flowers, the location should be large enough to support the plant at maturity, have damp, well-draining soil, and full to partial sunlight.

If you can supply a location with these qualities, this could be the right spot to add the buttonbush flower to your landscape.

How to Plant Buttonbush Flowers

There are two common methods to growing buttonbush flowers. The first method is to grow from a cutting.

Remove a six-inch cutting from a mature plant during the spring as new growth appears. You want the cutting to contain both nodes and leaves.

When removing a cutting, use a sharp knife or hand shears to remove it from the plant. Ensure you cut right beneath a node.

If there are leaves on the lower portion of the cutting, near the cut end, then remove them. After, dip the cut end in rooting hormone and shake off any excess.

From there, plant the cutting in a container filled with well-draining soil. Mist the soil with water to ensure everything is evenly saturated without becoming too wet.

Wrap the container in plastic to provide a greenhouse effect and check the soil daily to ensure it never dries out fully.

Place the container in a growing location with bright, indirect light. In approximately thirty days, the cutting should develop roots.

From there, you should continue to transplant the flower to a larger container, as needed, until the plant is strong enough to be moved outdoors after all threat of frost has passed.

The next method to growing buttonbush flowers is from seed. You may either collect seeds from mature buttonbush flowers in the fall or purchase seeds for planting.

Fill a growing tray with well-draining soil and press the seeds into place. Gently mist the seeds with water.

The soil should remain consistently damp without becoming oversaturated. Wrap the tray in plastic to provide a greenhouse effect.

Check the soil daily to ensure it doesn’t dry out while also keeping the tray in a warm growing location.

Once the seeds have sprouted, move them to a location with bright, indirect light and continue to keep the soil evenly damp.

The seedlings should live in a sheltered area for one year. You can grow them in a greenhouse, cold frame, or indoor growing location.

At the one-year mark, during spring, plant them in their permanent growing area. Ensure there’s three feet of space between each plant.

If you don’t have a growing location yet, you may grow this plant in a container. However, this will only work for young plants or dwarf varieties due to how large they become once fully mature.

These are your options for growing the buttonbush flower from either cutting or seed. Pick the option which works best for you and start the growing process, so you can enjoy these flowers soon.

buttonbush blooming

Caring for Buttonbush Flowers

You may not realize it but when you choose to grow the buttonbush flower, you’re planting something that will welcome pollinators to your growing location.

However, if you’re growing this plant near a body of water, you’re also taking steps to deter erosion from occurring.

For a plant that provides all of this to your landscape, what can you possibly do for it in return? In reality, not much.

Buttonbush flowers are a low-maintenance plant. There are a few ways you can provide supplemental care, but the task-list isn’t long.

To start, if you plant buttonbush flowers near a body of water, you’ll never need to water the plant. This plant is even known to grow in flooded locations.

However, if your plants aren’t near a body of water or areas which flood, you should water them deeply as you never want the soil to fully dry.

When deep watering, apply water for longer periods of time, fewer days of the week. This saturates the plants’ roots and the ground surrounding them.

As the days progress and the plants need more water, they’ll dig their roots into the soil to retrieve the water. This encourages stronger root systems and healthier plants.

Before applying water again, test the soil. Insert your finger into the dirt next to the plant. If it’s dry to your first knuckle, you need to provide another deep watering session.

You don’t have to prune a buttonbush plant, but if the plant begins to grow out of control, it won’t hurt to trim it.

Pruning this plant is to keep it shapely and ensure proper airflow around it. You may cut it back to the ground in early spring if the plant has become overbearing. It should rebound quickly.

You will need to apply a balanced fertilizer one time per year to supply the necessary nutrients for the plant to bloom.

Finally, you must protect the plants over winter. If you’re growing buttonbush flowers in a pot, move the container to a protected area.

If your plants are growing in the ground, apply a layer of mulch around them. Not only will this insulate the roots, but it’ll help the plants retain necessary moisture.

These are the steps you should take when caring for buttonbush flowers.

bee pollinator on buttonbush

Garden Pests and Diseases Which Could Impact Buttonbush Flowers

The buttonbush flower is an easy flower to grow, and it provides a variety of benefits. Another major benefit of this plant is it doesn’t have any serious issues with pests or diseases.

The only potential problems you may run into are drought and deer. If you notice the leaves of this plant dropping suddenly, chances are it’s not receiving enough water.

Apply water deeply to the plant and consider watering it more frequently to keep this problem at bay.

Buttonbush flowers are also considered a food source for deer. Therefore, they may become a pest if they discover your plants.

If this is the case, it’s wise to place deer repellent in the area. You can purchase it from most big box stores. I like the granules as they’re easier to apply.

Plus, it doesn’t do anything to harm animals. It basically consists of many fragrances that deer don’t like and tend to avoid.

If this doesn’t work, consider wrapping your plants in chicken wire or netting as this will make it harder for the deer to munch on them.

These are the only potential threats you may come across when growing buttonbush flowers. Take these tips into consideration to help you overcome these possible issues.

You now know how to care for buttonbush flowers, and you hopefully understand the appropriate growing conditions for this plant.

Plus, you have a few methods for growing this flower. Take all this information into consideration when deciding if this is the plant for you.

Hopefully, this information will be a guide to you if you decide this is the right plant for your landscape. Then you can have an enjoyable growing experience with the buttonbush flower.

Learn More About Buttonbush Flowers

The post How to Grow Buttonbush Flowers (Cephalanthus occidentalis) appeared first on Gardening Channel.



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