Dawn Viburnum: V. bodnantense ‘Dawn’
Pink scented flowers in clusters begin to open in January and continue sporadically through winter. New leaves are dark green tinged red, green in summer & orange-red in autumn before falling off. Red berries in autumn are good for birds.
Grows 8-10’ x 8-10’, sun-part shade, Z4.
Korean Spice: Viburnum V. carlesii
Clusters of pink flower buds open to white heavily scented flowers in March-April. Leaves are simple & fuzzy when new with orange-red fall color.
Grows 8’ x 7’, Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’ grows 4’ x 6’. Sun-pt shade, Z5
David Viburnum: Viburnum davidii
Flat clusters of white flowers in April, shiny blue fruits in fall, quilted evergreen leaves are long and lance shape. Broad mounding bun shape.
Grows up to 3-5’ x 3-5’, sun or shade — reflected afternoon sun may cause burning, Z7
Dwarf Fragrant Viburnum: Viburnum farreri ‘Nanum’
Pink fragrant flowers in February & March, before leaves appear. Green leaves are tinged red in spring, bright red to purple fall color and deciduous. Fruit starts red & turns black but is sparse, so not very showy.
Grows 3-4’ x 3-4’, sun-pt shade, Z5
Snowball Viburnum: Viburnum opulus ‘Sterile’(’Roseum’)
Globe-shape flower clusters are lime green to start & turn white as they mature. Blooms in May. Green 3-lobed leaves turn bright orange, yellow & red before falling in autumn. This version is sterile, so produces no berries.
Grows 10-12’, sun-part shade, Z4
Doublefile Viburnum: Viburnum plicatum tomentosum
White lacecap flowers line branches, hovering above the leaves for a tiered effect. Blooms in May. Leaves are simple & green, turning fire engine red in autumn before dropping. Small clusters of red fruits dot branches in summer.
Grows 8-10’ x 8-10’. Sun-part shade — if in a very hot sunny spot, protect the roots w/ mulch or groundcover, Z5
Leatherleaf or Alleghany Viburnum:
White flowers in clusters in May, unscented. Evergreen lance-shape leathery leaves. Red fruit turns black.
Grows 10-15’, sun-part shade, Z5
Onondaga Sargent Viburnum:
Viburnum sargentii ‘Onondaga’
One of the prettiest Viburnums. Delicate lace-cap flowers - white sterile flowers edge flat clusters of small pink fertile flowers. New leaves are maroon to orange, turn green in summer & bright red in autumn before dropping. Few fruits.
Grows 8-10’ x 6-8’, sun-part shade, Z4
Spring Bouquet Laurustinus Viburnum:
Viburnum tinus ‘Spring Bouquet’
Maroon flower buds wait all winter to open in spring. White flower clusters in March-April. Dark evergreen leaves. Metallic blue fruit in autumn.
Grows 5-6’ x 3-4’, sun-pt shade, Z7 — leaves are damaged by cold winds & temps below 15f. Plant in a spot that’s protected in winter winds.
Genus: Viburnum (vi-BURR-num)
Common: Arrowwood, Wayfaring Tree
Origin: Temperate North & South America, Asia & Europe
Characteristics: Over 150 species of shrubs and small trees. Flowers are sometimes fragrant, sometimes stinky or without scent. Pink or white flowers in clusters (umbrella shape, snowball shape, lacecap shape) bloom from mid-winter into June. Blue, red, white or yellow fruits occur in autumn, adding another season of interest & feeding birds at the same time. Leaves are evergreen or deciduous, opposite & occasionally in whorls of 3, lance-shaped, maple shaped, heart-shaped or round, with straight, undulating or serrated edges. Many deciduous viburnums have pretty red, orange or purple fall color. It’s a huge group of plants with a lot of variety!
Size: Size varies by species and cultivar. Smallest are 2-3’ at maturity. Many grow to 10-15’.
Culture: Varies by species — most prefer sun-part shade. Many adapt to differing soil types, but prefer clay soils to be amended to assist with drainage issues. Cold tolerance varies - less hardy types grow best if shielded from cold wind in winter.
Problems: Powdery mildew is the most common problem for Viburnum. Tips for avoiding it: Air circulation — don’t over crowd plants, allow for air circulation. Cleaning — remove the worst of the leaves & rake up fallen leaves in autumn. Mulch — adding mulch twice a year covers spores that may be lingering on the soil surface, increases air circulation in the soil as particles break down, and helps to keep soil moisture even.