Viburnums. Why are we all not planting more hedges and massing these wonderfully versatile shrubs? They hold their own in every season from the lacecap or snowball types of spring flowers to, for many species, late summer to fall fruits and colorful fall foliage. And, they are so undemanding and unfussy, filling in just about every sort of garden puzzle. (Okay, so one has asked me, but I will confess that if I had to name my favorite shrub of all, it would be a Doublefile Viburnum. Or maybe the Eastern Snowball pictured above.)
If you have yet to experience a viburnum in full spring bloom, you are in for a real treat. If you’re already a fan, perhaps you might want to try another type. Here are 5 ways (and 15 choice picks) we love to use them.
FAST GROWING SCREEN
Viburnum rhytidophylloides ‘Allegheny’
Dense and upright with fragrant white spring flowers followed by showy red fruit. Partial to full sun. Fast to 10 ft. tall and wide. Semi-evergreen. Zone: 5 – 8
Chicago Lustre® Arrowwood
Viburnum dentatum ‘Synnestvedt’
Super hardy with white flowers followed by blue-black fruit songbirds adore. Partial shade to full sun. Fast up to 12 ft. tall and10 ft. wide. Deciduous. Zone: 3 – 9
Sparkler® Arrowwood Viburnum
Viburnum dentatum ‘SMVDE’ PP #28,092
Cultivar of N. American native, noted for fall foliage and berries. Partial shade to full sun. 15 ft. tall and wide. Deciduous. Zone: 4 – 9
Korean Spice Viburnum
Has it all–fragrant flowers, bright berries, fall foliage. (Plant where you can enjoy scent.) Partial to full sun. Slow up to 6 ft. tall and wide. Deciduous. Zone: 4 – 8
Summer Snowflake Viburnum
Viburnum plicatum tomentosum ‘Summer Snowflake’
Magnificient tiered horizontal flowery branches. Partial to full sun. Up to 8 ft. tall and 10 ft. wide. Deciduous. Zone: 5 – 8
Winterthur Smooth Viburnum
Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur
Compact cultivar of native smooth viburnum, perfect for low, damp spots. Fragrant flowers! Partial to full sun. Up to 10 ft. tall, 6 ft. wide. Deciduous. Zone: 5 – 9
Pink Dawn Viburnum
Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Pink Dawn’
Best for a late winter, early spring blooming bonanza. Pink flowers and cinnamon-hued bark. Partial to full sun. Up to 10 ft. tall, 8 ft. wide. Deciduous. Zone: 5 – 8
Viburnum opulus ‘Sterile’
Everyone’s favorite! Masses of snowball-like flower clusters from top to bottom. Give it room. Partial to full sun. Up to 12 ft. tall, 10 ft. wide. Deciduous. Zone: 3 – 8
Spring Bouquet Laurustinus
Viburnum tinus ‘Compactum’
Lovely choice for warmer zones, compact size is useful for containers or borders. Fragrant flowers. Partial to full sun. Up to 6 ft. tall and wide. Evergreen. Zone: 7 – 11
Dwarf Cranberry Bush
Viburnum opulus ‘Nanum’
A pretty, dense mounding, small shrub to pot up and tuck into a bed or place on a shady patio. Partial to full sun. Up to 2 1/2 ft. tall and wide. Deciduous. Zone: 4 – 8
Chindo Sweet Viburnum
Viburnum awabuki ‘Chindo’
For a most unexpected, dense, glossy hedge. Fragrant late-spring flowers, fall berries. Partial to full sun. Up to 12 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide. Evergreen. Zone: 7 – 11
Viburnum x burkwoodii
Prized for its pinkish-white spring flowers, spicy-sweet fragrance and glossy foliage. Partial to full sun. Up to 12 ft. tall, 5 ft. wide. Evergreen to semi-evergreen. Zone: 5 – 8
Viburnum x pragense
Pink buds develop in early spring and open to lightly fragrant, creamy white flowers. Partial to full sun. Fast up to 10 ft. tall, 8 ft. wide. Evergreen. Zone: 5 – 8
Know It, Grow It!
- Highly adaptable but thrives in organically rich, slightly acidic well-drained soils with consistent moisture.
- Water deeply and regularly during the first growing season to establish an extensive root system; reduce frequency, once established.
- Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring.
- Pruning time: spring after flowering.
- Avoid any potential fungal disease by providing good air circulation.
- For the best fruit display, plant two or more of the same species. Most viburnums are self-incompatible, which means they need a little genetic variability to fruit well.