Viburnum is a plant name that encompasses a great variety of flowering and ornamental fruit-bearing plants, often shrubs. The majority of the more than 150 species of viburnum come from Asia and North America. Also, it's pronounced vie-BUR-num.
What makes this a confusing classification of plants is that they range from those smaller shrubs that only grow around two feet tall to trees that can grow up to thirty feet tall. Some are deciduous, while others are evergreen.
Facts About Viburnum
A couple of the things that each specie of viburnum seems to have in common are the production of flowers and some vividly colored berries. Some viburnum flowers smell absolutely delightful, while others may be the most disgusting thing you've ever put your nose to.
Here are some other facts about viburnum that may interest you:
1. There Are A Plethora Of Varieties
With over 150 species, obviously, there are a lot of options to choose from. However, with viburnum, the differences are more widespread than just leaves or coloring of blooms.
Many viburnums are shrubs, but there are others that are trees. You'll find dwarf varieties, which come in at no more than three feet tall. There are some that can grow to twenty feet or more.
If you keep them trimmed, many of the shrub varieties may also grow into trees, making them excellent options for borders in the yard – perfect for hedgerows and grouping, as well.
2. There's Something To Enjoy In Every Season
There are evergreen and semi-evergreen viburnum, so you can often expect to have something delightful to look at all year round. The semi-evergreen will drop their leaves only when it gets below 10 degrees F, which could be mid-winter in some of the areas these plants thrive in.
3. They Are A Versatile Plant
Not only can you plant viburnums in the yard, but some of them make good potted plants if you want to add a little something extra to pathways without adding raised beds or digging up concrete. Potted plants will need some extra care to ensure they don't overgrow their space, while those planted directly in the ground also need to be trimmed from time to time.
4. When To Expect Flowers And Fruit
Viburnums are known to bloom in spring, most of them anyway. They can have many shades of pink colors or even white or cream-colored flowers. They often bloom in a dome or spherical shapes with clusters of flowers together.
The fruit of the viburnum makes its appearance in the late summer or in the fall. The fruit they bear are usually oval-shaped or round, and they come in a variety of colors – including black, blue, red, and yellow. These are decorative fruit that adds a nice splash of color when many flowers are no longer in bloom.
5. Viburnum Are Hardy Plants
There are various species of viburnums that are hardy in cold weather. Most of them are best in hardiness zones 4 through 8, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Common Types Of Viburnum
With over 150 varieties of viburnum, it's impossible to go into detail about every single one of these plants. Different viburnum species grow well in different areas, so you'll want to do a little bit of research depending on where you live. With so many different shapes and sizes, you have a lot of choices to make.
Here are eight of the more common types of viburnum, just to give you an idea of what is available out there.
The Arrowood viburnum can reach up to fifteen feet tall. This one has pretty white flowers that have no scent. Its flowers are replaced with black or dark blue fruit in the fall. You'll be impressed with the autumn foliage change of this viburnum.
Blackhaw is one of the larger varieties of viburnum. This one reaches up to thirty feet in height, though most of them reach only half of that. This variety does well in the sun and in the shade, and like nearly any type of soil. It's a hardy tree that can survive droughts. Like the Arrowwood, the Blackhaw has a white flower, followed by black fruit.
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The Burkwood is an excellent choice if you want a viburnum with a fragrant flower. The fruit can range from a red coloring to black. The height of this variety is about ten feet. The Burkwood can withstand high heat and even flourishes in areas with a lot of air pollution (so this makes an excellent city plant).
If you're a fan of cranberries with your Thanksgiving dinner, the American cranberry is just what you need in your yard. Maybe you didn't know that cranberries were a variety of viburnum, but now you do.
The American cranberry grows up to about ten feet tall, though there are some shorter varieties as well. And, much like you should already know, they bear a red fruit each fall (just in time to make some fresh cranberry sauce for your guests and family.)
- (1 Gallon) Shasta Viburnum, gorgeous extra large clusters of white flowers cover bright green leaves in late Spring.
- Full sun to part shade
- Height 6 ft. Width 10 to 12 ft.
The Doublefire is believed to be one of the most gorgeous of viburnum varieties. It spreads in a wide and even formation, from about ten feet tall. Its spread reaches about twelve feet. It's the flowers that give it its beauty – with large white groupings, called dusters.
The Koreanspice variety of the viburnum offers fragrant flowers in large clusters of pink. The foliage of this variety dramatically changes from green to bright red in the fall. There are normal versions, which reach about six feet in height, and compact options that get about half that tall.
- All pictures are of fully grown plants. Sizes shipped are in the title and description. Deciduous plants do not have...
- CALIFORNIA ORDERS WILL BE CANCELLED - This is due to CA state regulations and is beyond our control.
- Zone: 3-8 / Part Sun - Full Sun / Bloom: showy White / Mature Height: 10-15 ft / Width 8-10' / Growth rate: moderate
Not to be confused with the snowball hydrangea (though it often is), the snowball viburnum looks pretty much the same. It has a beautiful cluster of white flowers that look like a fresh, fluffy snowball.
This is one of the most common varieties of viburnum, aside from cranberry. When you see these puffballs in someone's garden landscape, they're more than likely the viburnum variety.
The tea variety of viburnum may have a simple name, but its white flowers are fresh and beautiful. They give way to large amounts of bright red berries in the fall.
Viburnum will grow in many areas – it really depends on the variety. This is why it's important to do some research on your particular variety to ensure you give it the right lighting and proper soil type.
Many varieties will thrive in dry soil, while others need moist soil (though it should always be well-drained). There are varieties that need direct sunlight, others that do fine in partial shade, and even those varieties that do well in both.
The plant “spreads” by seed. They don't need a lot of fuss – once you plant them in a place they “like,” they'll usually thrive on their own. They may need some attention when it gets too rainy or too dry, depending on the variety.
Caring For Your Viburnum
Like many shrubs and trees, your viburnum may need a trim every once in a while. If your viburnum is getting out of control, you can trim it back almost any time of the year. However, you don't want to do any major pruning until late winter or early spring before it starts to get fresh buds and growth.
Trim the branches back about a third of the overall length. You may not think it's important to do this, but properly pruning trees and brush every year helps them grow and produce better each following year. Cut just above the nodes on each branch, which allows proper growth once spring arrives.
When it comes to trimming any trees or brush in your yard, always make sure to use sharp pruning shears. The cleaner the cuts, the better for the plant. If your pruner shears are getting dull, don't toss them and buy new ones – there are scissor and knife sharpening businesses that can get your shears working like new again.
Final Thoughts On Viburnum
One of the best ways to introduce viburnum's flowering shrubbery into your yard, and get the most out of its beauty, is to pick the American cranberry variety. This way, you not only get a plant that will offer some color and hedging, but you also get some pretty flowers and some edible fruit that you can use for Thanksgiving or any other fall day.