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Delightfully different, Buttonbush is a fun Accent to have in your wildlife-friendly garden. Its white flowers bloom in summer, and they’re like nothing you’ve ever seen before! Round like a gumball, they’re covered with long styles (the female part of the flower), sticking up all around—kind of like a kid’s hair when she puts her hand on one of those static electricity balls at the science museum. Bees and butterflies adore the blooms, and hummingbirds visit them, too. In the wild, Buttonbush grows near water, and many species of ducks eat the seeds. Kingbirds, robins, and towhees have also been observed feeding on them.
May Benefit & Attract: Hummingbirds, kingbirds, robins, towhees, and ducks
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
Size AA (18-24" tall) container grown
Size A (3-4' tall) container grown
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
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Recommended by Our Growers
Botanically, Buttonbush is unusual. It belongs to the same family as the Coffee plant—a family that doesn’t have very many members that are cold-hardy. And Buttonbush is hardy—to -30ºF once it’s established! It has an extensive native range that includes most of the eastern U.S., parts of California and Arizona, much of Mexico, and Cuba. There are even some populations in East Asia. This water-lover usually borders streams or lakes and is useful in stabilizing the shoreline. It also provides habitat for birds that like to nest near water, such as Red-Winged Blackbirds.
All sorts of butterflies—Swallowtails, Monarchs, Viceroys, Fritillaries, and Painted Ladies, to name a few—LOVE Buttonbush flowers, and they will take long, slow drinks from them. They get so engrossed in what they’re doing that you can get very close to them. A great plant for wildlife photographers!
How to Grow
Buttonbush appreciates fertile, moist soil in full sun. Plant it in a rain garden or at the edge of a water feature if you can—it will even thrive in water up to its shins. Regular garden conditions are fine if you don’t have a soggy site. Just make sure to irrigate regularly, so the soil stays fairly moist. In cold areas (Zones 4 and 5), Buttonbush may die back over the winter, but it will regenerate from the roots. In California and the Deep South, it will not die back, and, in fact, it can achieve tree-like proportions there.
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