Skip to main content

Sugar Shack Buttonbush: Flowers, Foliage and Form

Virtues: We love Sugar Shcak buttonbush for its curious round summer flowers, ornamental red fruit and bright fall foliage. Its bare stems and branches are attractive in winter. This adaptable US-native shrub is the perfect size for today's small yards and gardens.

sugar shack buttonbush shrub

Common name: Sugar Shack buttonbush

Botanical name: Cephalanthus occidentalis 'SMCOSS' or Sugar Shack

Flowers: Fragrant, spherical white flowers appear in summer. These feed bees and butterflies. They are followed by red fruits that attract birds.

Foliage: Large, glossy, oval deciduous leaves are green with a bronze tinge during summer and they turn fiery shades in autumn and fall.

Habit:  A deciduous woody shrub that grows 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.

Season: Summer for flowers; fall for fruit and leaf color. It has a rounded/spreading habit with sometimes twisting stems, making its bare form handsome in the winter months.

Origin: Cultivar of a shrub native to swamps and streambanks as well as dry bluffs of much of North America.

How to grow Sugar Shack buttonbush: This shrub tolerates wet soil, making it a good choice for poorly drained areas or rain gardens. It is adaptable, however, and can also take dry soil once established. That said, it does best in evenly moist ground. It prefers full to part sun. Its compact size makes pruning it unnecessary in most situations, but if you desire you can trim it in the spring, before its flower buds are set. USDA Zones 4–10.

Image courtesy of Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs.