2016 Theodore Klein Plant Award Winners

Cephalanthus occidentalis - Buttonbush is a reparian strip plant frequently founnd along open stream beds and on the banks of lakes and ponds. The unique round Sputnik-like bloom attracts pollinators and butterflies. It's ability to survive with its roots covered with water would indicate a preference for moist siting. Plants grown from seed are attractive and selections can be made to glossy foliage and increased sized blooms. Seedlings of plant of Lake Barkley, Kentucky grew vigorously and were larger than the frequently reported 3-6 feet high. It would seem the 3-6 foot hieght is related to native sites that Spring flood and are dry the rest of the year. It should be noted this plant is rarely found naturally occuring on dry soils. When planted in a landscape environment of improved soils, fertility and possibly irrigation it is not uncommon to find Buttonbush growing 12-15 feet tall.

Buttonbush is an excellent plant to be added to the white garden as the Summer blooms stand out against the glossy foliage and are long lasting. Following pollination and in the fall the styles wilt and turn brown in some cases covering the unlying globes.

Buttonbush is considered "overlooked" or neglected as a landscape plant in spite of its great characteristics. That is changing as cultivars have been developed and introduced by: Steve Bieberich, Sputnik™; Plant Nouveau, Magical® Moonlight, Proven Winners SMCOSS’ Sugar Shack® and Bailey's First Editions® Fiber Optics™ Buttonbush, C. occidentalis 'Bailoptics'

Cephalanthus occidentalis - Buttonbush

Cephalanthus occidentalis - Buttonbush

Cephalanthus occidentalis - Buttonbush