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Buttonbush tree - Cephalanthus occidentalis

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Bareroot plant

The Buttonbush tree, scientifically known as Cephalanthus occidentalis, is a deciduous shrub native to North America. Here's a detailed description along with planting instructions:

Appearance: Buttonbush typically grows as a multi-stemmed shrub, though it can also be trained into a small tree. It reaches heights of 6 to 12 feet (1.8 to 3.7 meters) tall and often spreads to a similar width. The branches are densely arranged, forming a rounded or somewhat irregular shape.
Leaves: The leaves are simple, opposite, and glossy green, with an elliptical or ovate shape. They measure about 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm) in length and turn yellow in the fall before dropping.
Flowers: Buttonbush produces unique spherical flower heads that resemble small, spiky balls. These white to creamy-white flowers bloom in dense clusters from late spring to early summer and have a sweet fragrance. They attract a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Fruit: After flowering, buttonbush develops small, round, dark brown to black fruit clusters that persist through the fall and into winter. These fruit clusters are attractive to birds and other wildlife.
Planting Instructions:
Climate and Location:

Buttonbush thrives in moist to wet soil conditions and is commonly found in swamps, marshes, and along waterways. However, it can also tolerate drier conditions once established.
Choose a planting location that receives full to partial sunlight. Buttonbush can grow in a range of light conditions, but it typically flowers more profusely in sunnier locations.
Soil Preparation:

Buttonbush prefers moist, well-drained soils but can tolerate a wide range of soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soils. It is adaptable to both acidic and alkaline soils.
Before planting, amend the soil with organic matter such as compost or peat moss to improve moisture retention and fertility, especially if the soil is sandy or poor in quality.
Planting the Shrubs:

Plant buttonbush shrubs in the early spring or late fall when the soil is moist and temperatures are moderate.
Dig a hole that is slightly wider and just as deep as the root ball of the plant.
Gently remove the shrub from its container or loosen the roots if it's a bare-root plant.
Place the shrub in the center of the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is level with the surrounding soil.
Backfill the hole with soil, firming it gently around the roots to remove air pockets.
Water the shrub thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the roots.

Space buttonbush shrubs about 6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3 meters) apart to allow room for growth and airflow between plants.
Mulching and Watering:

Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or shredded bark, around the base of the shrub to help retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and moderate soil temperature.
Water the shrubs regularly, especially during dry periods, to keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged. Buttonbush is tolerant of wet conditions but can also withstand short periods of drought once established.
Pruning and Maintenance:

Buttonbush typically requires minimal pruning. You can prune the shrub in late winter or early spring to remove any dead, damaged, or crossing branches and to maintain a tidy shape.
Fertilization is generally not necessary, as buttonbush is adapted to grow in nutrient-poor soils. However, if the plant shows signs of nutrient deficiency, you can apply a balanced fertilizer in the spring.
Wildlife Attraction:

Buttonbush is highly attractive to a variety of wildlife, including birds, butterflies, and bees. The flowers provide nectar for pollinators, while the fruit clusters serve as a food source for birds and other animals.
By following these planting instructions and providing proper care, you can successfully grow buttonbush shrubs and enjoy their unique flowers, attractive foliage, and wildlife benefits in your landscape.