Viburnum: Growing Guide

Deciduous and evergreen shrubs, often- but not invariably- with dome-shaped inflorescences.


Many species make fine flowering shrubs also suitable for small gardens. Note the varying heights.


Well manured, drained garden soil; the evergreen species require acid soil.


From summer or winter cuttings, also by layering.

Viburnum X burkwoodu: Height to 3 m, spreading habit; fragrant flowers, initially white, later pink, in dome-shaped umbels in mid to late spring. The foliage is partially retained in winter.

Viburnum X carlcephalum: Height 1.5 m, very slow growing; delightfully scented pink/white flowers in dome-shaped umbels in mid spring to early summer. Attractive in small gardens. Deciduous. Viburnum davidu: Height to 50 cm; white flower-clusters in late spring and early summer, followed from late summer onwards by magnificent steel-blue berries. The leathery, oval-shaped leaves are deeply veined. Viburnum lantana: Height 2 m or more; creamy flowers in dome-shaped umbels in late spring and early summer. The entire shrub is covered in downy hairs. Not suitable for small gardens.

Viburnum opulus, guelder rose: Height to 4 m; flowers in late spring. The fertile and sterile florets are assembled in one cluster; white. The bright-red berries are retained to well into autumn. Not suitable for small gardens, better used as ground-cover in large plantations. In ‘Roseum’ all the flowers are sterile, arranged in a fine, spherical inflorescence. ‘Compactum’ is a low-growing, dense shrub with large bright-red berries.

Viburnum plicatum, Japanese snowball: Height to 2 m, spreading habit; sterile flowers in spherical clusters in late spring and early summer. In ‘Mariesii’ there are fertile florets as well; the inflorescence is flatter, very beautiful, especially when the shrub is grown as a specimen bush in a not too shady spot.

Viburnum rhytidophyllum: Height to 3 m; off-white flowers in dome-shaped clusters late spring to mid summer. The elongated felty leaves are retained in winter. Keep out of draughts.

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