Butterfly Garden Plants

Viceroy on Common Buttonbush
Viceroy on Common Buttonbush

Common Buttonbush
(Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Other common names for this plant include Buttonbush, Button willow

Common Buttonbush is a great addition to butterfly gardens. Although it is a wetland shrub, it is easy to incorporate into a garden if given ample water. When planning a garden, consider growing Common Buttonbush in a mixed border that incorporates both perennials, shrubs, and grasses. It would also be at home in a naturalistic setting where it can mingle with other shrubs such as spicebush or costal sweetpepper bush.

While the flowers look more like pin cushions, the name of this plant comes from the round shape and hard texture of the reddish brown seed pods. In addition to being rather decorative, the seed pods are eaten by a number of different types of waterfowl.

Importance as a butterfly nectar source:
Loved as a nectar plant by a wide variety of butterflies.

Importance as a caterpillar food source:
Common Buttonbush is not a butterfly caterpillar food source. It is a food source for some moths.

Cultural Requirements

USDA Hardiness Zone5 to 10
Bloom PeriodJune to August
Bloom ColorWhite
Plant Heightto 12 feet
Plant Spread1 to 10 feet, can form colonies
Light ExposureSun
Soil MoistureMoist
Animal/Disease ProblemsGenerally pest free

Native Range

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Plant Rating

lant rating scale ranges from 0 to 3. Plants rating 3 are the most useful for butterfly gardens. For more details on the ratings, see Native Plant Ratings

Garden Rating3
Nectar Rating3
Caterpillar Rating0