Buttonbush is a deciduous shrub with an open-rounded habit that typically grows 6-12’ (infrequently to 20’) tall. It most frequently occurs in wet open areas, low woods, thickets, swamps, upland sink-hole ponds, river bottomland and stream/pond margins. Tiny, tubular, 5-lobed, fragrant white flowers appear in dense, spherical, long-stalked flower heads (to 1.5” diameter) in early to mid-summer. Long, projecting styles give the flower heads a distinctively pincushion-like appearance. Flower heads are very attractive to bees and butterflies. Flower heads mature into hard spherical ball-like fruits consisting of multiple tiny two-seeded nutlets. Fruiting heads usually persist throughout the winter. Ovate to elliptic glossy bright green leaves (to 6” long) are in pairs or whorls. Leaves emerge late in spring (May). Easily grown in moist, humusy soils in full sun to part shade. Grows very well in wet soils, including flood conditions and shallow standing water. Adapts to a wide range of soils except dry ones.
The seeds germinate easily and do not need any pretreatment.
- Put some moist, humus soil or a mixture of potting soil and sand or perlite into a pot.
- Sow the seeds on the soil.
- Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil.
- Water the seeds.
- When the seeds are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted into the ground. Plant them in an area in full sun or part shade and with moist soil.