Plant of the Week: A patriotic weekend in North America!



First, Canada Day was on July 1, then U.S. Independence Day on July 4. Since Michigan is on the border, we're having one long weekend of international bonhomie, with fireworks all around.

It's a good time for folks on both sides of the border to appreciate the richness of our native plant genera and species. We have so many cool plants, and I think that plant breeders are just getting started exploring them. What if there were as many choices of Cephalanthus as there are Hydrangea macrophylla? OK, that might make my head explode. But you get the idea.

Sugar Shack buttonbush from Proven Winners ColorChoice
The firework flowers of native Sugar Shack® Cephalanthus (buttonbush)

How's that for a celebratory flower?

Sugar Shack® Cephalanthus is a compact selection of our native buttonbush. The crazy flowers are quite fragrant - pollinators love them. Unlike the green fruits of the species, Sugar Shack® buttonbush has flashy red fruit in fall. It's smaller, too, growing to 3-4' tall rather than the 8-15' of the species.

Sugar Shack buttonbush from Proven Winners ColorChoice
Unlike the green fruits of the species, Sugar Shack® buttonbush has flashy red fruit in fall.

This is a good plant for moist to wet sites. It's not the plant for someone who wants a very manicured, formal landscape, but perfect for the gardener who wants to take a walk on the wild side. Hardy to USDA Zone 4, it grows in full sun or partial shade.

While there's lots of chatter about native plants, I tend to stay away from most of the ideology. I just like plants that do what they're supposed to do. Smaller selections like this can be less intimidating to gardeners, and often have better shelf appeal than seedlings.

Sugar Shack buttonbush from Proven Winners ColorChoice
Sugar Shack® buttonbush stays a compact 3-4' tall and wide, compared to the typical 8-15' size of the species.

Native plant selections like Sugar Shack® Cephalanthus give us valuable new choices for solving tricky landscape challenges, and offer gardeners something fun and novel to set their yards apart from the neighbors'.




Plant of the Week is written by Jane Beggs-Joles

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