All About the Buttonbush:

Scientific Nomenclature: Cephalanthus occidentalis

Common Names: buttonbush, buck-willow, buck brush, honey-bells

Mature Height: 3–6 feet

Mature Spread: 3–6 feet

Growth Rate: Moderate

Attracts Wildlife: Birds, pollinators and mammals

Messiness: Buttonbush drops its leaves in autumn. Fruit persists through winter and drops in early spring.

Shape: Round

Native to Kentucky: Yes

Preferred Soils: Prefers moist to wet, rich, high organic matter content soils. Can do well in clay, loam, shallow rocky, and/or sandy soils. Prefers acidic (<6.0pH) soils.

Screening: Not typically planted as a screening or privacy tree. Makes a beautiful addition to a pollinator garden or to control erosion on slopes.

Drought Tolerance: Tolerant of heat and very mildly tolerant of drought. May flower poorly in dry soils though.

Coniferous or Deciduous: Deciduous

Pruning: Little to no pruning is required for buttonbushes unless they’re being shaped to preference. Any dead, broken, or diseased limbs should also be removed to help keep the shrub as healthy as possible.

Climate Quick Facts:

Following being planted as a sapling, over 20 years one buttonbush will:

  • Sequester ~1,169 pounds of CO2.
  • Reduce stormwater runoff by 275 gallons.