Description & Overview

A Johnson’s Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Ping Pong™ Buttonbush has an upright growing habit and rich, glossy, dark green leaves. Perfectly globular, creamy white inflorescences, similar to small ping pong balls. Wetland shrub that can tolerate periodic flooding. Ping Pong Buttonbush originated at Johnson’s Nursery in 2004 from a seedling selection made by Mike Yanny from a crop of open pollinated Cephalanthus occidentalis.

This plant is no longer in production. The product info remains for informational purposes.

Core Characteristics

Category: Shrub

Wisconsin Native: Yes

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 4

Mature Height: 8 feet

Mature Spread: 8 feet

Growth Rate: Moderate

Growth Form: Upright, becoming rounded with age

Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Site Requirements: Adaptable to any soil except dry

Flower: Creamy white, globular, fragrant

Bloom Period: July

Foliage: Glossy Dark Green

Fall Color: Insignificant, mottled brown with hints of yellow and orange

Urban Approved: No

Fruit Notes: Globular seed head, ornamental

Suggested Uses

Ping Pong™ is suited for various landscaping needs, especially in areas where water management is a consideration. This plant thrives in wet conditions, making it a perfect selection for rain gardens or along the banks of ponds and streams where it can help stabilize soil and manage water runoff.

Its rich, dark green foliage and unique, globular white flowers add visual interest to any setting, making it a standout choice for naturalized areas or wildlife gardens.

Ping Pong™ Buttonbush is known for attracting a plethora of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and birds, enhancing the ecological value of the landscape. Its adaptability to periodic flooding and standing water conditions also makes it an excellent choice for areas that experience fluctuating moisture levels, offering both aesthetic beauty and practical benefits in managing landscape moisture.

Download Ping Pong™ Buttonbush Plant Slick

A Johnson's Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Ping Pong Buttonbush has an upright growing habit and rich, glossy, dark green le…
A Johnson's Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Ping Pong Buttonbush has an upright growing habit and rich, glossy, dark green le…

Wildlife Value

Ping Pong Buttonbush is valuable to wildlife through many seasons. The flowers are an excellent nectar source for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. Shorebirds, ducks, and other water birds consume the seeds, and wood ducks will use the plant as cover when nesting. In Wisconsin, the plant hosts caterpillars of the Titan Sphinx Moth (Allepos titan). In warmer climates to the south and east, the Hydrangea Sphinx Moth (Darapsa versicolor) also uses the plant as a caterpillar host.

Maintenance Tips

If the Ping Pong Buttonbush becomes too tall for its space, the tallest stems can be removed via thinning cuts in the fall. Otherwise it can be left to grow naturally in its space.

A Johnson's Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Ping Pong Buttonbush has an upright growing habit and rich, glossy, dark green le…

Pests/Problems

Ping Pong Buttonbush has no serious insect or disease problems. Minor insect browsing of the leaves just means the plant is fulfilling its role in the local ecosystem!

Leaf Lore

The genus name of Buttonbush, Cephalanthus, comes from the Greek words ‘cephalo’ and ‘anthos,’ meaning “head flower.” The native Buttonbush ranges from West Texas and the Florida Everglades north to Minnesota and Nova Scotia.

Companion Plants

Combine Ping Pong Buttonbush with other native wet-site plants like Spotted Joe-Pye Weed, Black Chokeberry, Red Milkweed, and Shreve’s Iris.

A Johnson's Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Ping Pong Buttonbush has an upright growing habit and rich, glossy, dark green le…
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Written by Johnson's Nursery