Button bush, Cephalanthus occidentalis - everything to care for

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Button bush - Cephalanthus occidentalis

The button bush Cephalanthus occidentalis, which is also known as honey ball or knob flower, is a late flowering, deciduous, mostly multi-stemmed but also poisonous shrub that can reach stature heights of up to 150 cm under optimal conditions. The special feature of this plant are its spherical tubular flowers that remind of a pincushion with their protruding stamens. These long-stemmed flowers usually show from July / August to September and exude an intense but pleasant honey smell, which attracts numerous butterflies, bees and other insects.


The button bush can be planted from spring. Due to its good frost hardiness, it can be planted year-round, with the exception of the frost periods. The soil should be open or frost-free at the time of planting. Before planting the root ball is watered. The soil in the planting area should be thoroughly loosened and weed-free, as these would compete with the newly planted button bush. As soon as he has established himself at his new location, he copes very well with competitors.
In most cases, this plant is offered as a container or bale. In bales, the root ball is wrapped in jute, which should be left on the plant as it dissolves in the soil over time. After watering, the plant is finally inserted into a sufficiently large planting hole, filled with excavated earth and the earth festgetreten. Finally, water the whole thing well. When planting in the summer, special attention should be paid to good irrigation.
Tip: For a position in the bucket, a pot volume of 7.5 liters is recommended.

Location and ground

Cephalanthus occidentalis thrives in sunny as well as partially shaded spots. A place in scorching heat and shady locations, however, should be avoided, because here the flowering is much lower. At the bottom, she is not so unpretentious. Here it prefers permeable, organic, well storable, fresh, moist to swampy and nutrient-rich soils.
Optimal are sandy-loamy soils. Heavy or compacted soil can be made looser with gravel or sand and, consequently, more permeable. This plant also adapts easily to moderately lime and base-rich, low-calcium, pH-neutral and slightly acidic soils. For planting in the bucket, standard unit earth is suitable.

Pouring and fertilizing

  • The water requirement of the honey ball is relatively high.
  • In wet locations normal rainfalls are usually sufficient.
  • Add in the summer or in case of prolonged heat and drought.
  • When cultivating in the tub, water constantly and regularly, especially in summer.
  • In addition to the water supply is also to ensure an adequate supply of nutrients.
  • Specimens in the garden are optimally supplied with plenty of compost.
  • This is given 1-2 times a year, for example in March and June.
  • Supply potted plants with a liquid fertilizer approximately every two weeks during growth.
  • Also possible is the single administration of a long-term fertilizer.


Since the button bush grows relatively slowly with a maximum annual growth of 20 cm, pruning is not necessary every year. It can be blended in early spring, around March. A cut is especially advisable if the plant is already heavily feral, a denser branching is desired or the willingness to flower subsides.
Depending on what is to be achieved with the cut, you can cut it back strongly or cut only in shape. You can shorten individual shoots but also the entire shrub before budding. A radical cut can cut back to a few eyes. Otherwise you remove dead, dried up and sick shoots at the base. If the scaffolding is too dense, old wood may also be removed.
Tip: The Buttonbusch is also suitable for education as a high strain, which is best used for young plants. This should have a straight strong central drive, which can be used as the main trunk.


Even if the branch tips occasionally freeze in winter, the button bush is good for winter hardiness and tolerates temperatures of minus 25 degrees Celsius for a short time. Accordingly, in the garden planted specimens come without any protection easily through the winter. The situation is different with plants that are cultivated in the bucket, because here, in particular, the root ball is exposed to much colder temperatures than is the case with planted shrubs.
These are not so hardy and should be protected. It is best to put the bucket slightly elevated, for example on wooden slats or polystyrene, to protect it from frosty temperatures from below. In addition, you can cover the root ball with dry leaves or straw and wrap the pot with straw or Kokosmatten, fleece or bubble wrap.Even in winter, the bale should not completely dry out but not be stunned. It is poured exclusively on frost-free days. You do not need fertilizer completely.
Tip: Of course, a frost-free hibernation at temperatures of about 10 degrees is possible. Due to the fact that this plant leaves decaying, the light requirement is relatively low, so that it can also winter a little darker.



Sowing is possible all year round. It is best to prefer the plants in the house. Suitable substrate is a mixture of Kokohum or Aussaaterde and sand or Perlite. The seeds do not need to be pretreated. Place it about 0.5 cm deep into the substrate, moisten it and place it in a light and warm place. The substrate must be kept constantly moist, but not wet. Germination now requires temperatures of 22-25 degrees. Under optimal conditions, germination occurs within 4-8 weeks. If the seedlings are then big and strong enough they can be planted in the garden, at the earliest after the icy saints.


Another way to multiply this plant is via cuttings. The best time for this is spring. Cut 15-20 cm long semi-woody cuttings and remove the bottom leaves and flower buds. The cuttings should have at the top and bottom of each pair of buds or complete it.
They are inserted so deeply into a loose and humus-rich cultivation substrate that only the upper pair of eyes or eye looks out of the ground. Leaves must not be in the ground, so if necessary one or the other must be removed. Only the topmost leaves must remain on the cuttings. Now put them in a light and warm place and keep the substrate evenly damp again.
To promote the rooting, you can put a translucent plastic bag over the cuttings, which are regularly removed for a short time to ventilate the whole. Otherwise it comes relatively quickly to mold and, consequently, to rot. After rooting can be transplanted to the garden or a tub.
Tip: Again and again, all weeds should be removed before and after planting in order to facilitate the growth of the young plantlets.

Plants short tips

The button bush should be planted in a sunny to partially shaded place, where it is not too hot in summer. He needs a moist soil that is well drained.
  • When planting, make sure that the soil is well loosened, because too dense soil tolerates the button bush badly.
  • The planting hole should therefore be twice as large as the pot bale dug and made permeable with some sand or gravel if necessary, so that the new plant can easily beat roots.
  • The button bush can be planted all year round except for the winter months, it is planted in the summer months, but is to ensure a good irrigation in the early days.
In this country, the button bush is still an absolute rarity and an attractive eye-catcher, both in the garden and in the bucket. It comes in single or group position to advantage, can be combined very well with other perennials or in discounts, fits very well into Mediterranean gardens or water gardens and decorates in the bucket balcony and terrace. In order to be able to enjoy the filigree blossoms for many years, attention should be paid to a good supply of water and nutrients and occasionally lighted or cut back.

Video Board: Buttonbush -- Cephalanthus occidentalis - How to grow Buttonbush.

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