Plant Focus: Buttonbush, A Delightful Surprise
Buttonbush is native to North Texas, and yet it is not widely used in landscaping. It has a reputation for being a high water use plant. While it is true that it prefers moist soils and in fact can live in marsh-like conditions, it is also adaptable and can be quite happy in an average garden. It prefers deeper soils and will appreciate irrigation in the summer. As with most plants, it will need regular irrigation during the first few years to get established, and it should be trained to be watered deeply and infrequently.
Buttonbush has a graceful growing habit and is a handsome shrub, but can be easily overlooked. That changes around May when it starts blooming. Its flowers are perfectly round creamy puffs that look out of this world. The shrub is covered in blooms for a few weeks and usually buzzing with bee and butterfly activity. It is truly a showstopper during that time.
Buttonbush is an excellent choice for low, wet spots in the yard where other things might have a hard time growing. My established buttonbush is thriving in average soil, in full sun and with once a week watering in the summer. Over the years it has grown to be quite an impressive size. Planted as a small 5-gallon shrub 12 years ago, it is now roughly 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Do not be afraid to move it if it does not thrive in the original location. Once established, buttonbush is carefree, other than occasional trimming to shape or control size.