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How To Grow and Care for Viburnum?

Viburnum plicatum

Picture yourself strolling through your garden, admiring the beautiful blooms and foliage.

But something seems to be missing.

Could it be the delightful fragrance of viburnum?

Growing viburnum might be the solution if you want to take your garden to the next level and add a touch of elegance and scent.

Let’s explore how to care for and cultivate this delightful shrub.

What Is Viburnum?

Viburnum is a genus of flowering plants that belong to the Adoxaceae family.

They are prized for their delicate and fragrant blooms, attractive foliage, and ornamental berries.

With over 150 species, Viburnum offers diverse colors, textures, and shapes that can be enjoyed in any garden or landscape. 

Viburnum plants are deciduous or evergreen shrubs that grow in various climates, from temperate to subtropical regions.

They also produce showy clusters of flowers, ranging from white and pink to yellow and red, that bloom in late spring or early summer.

Some varieties of Viburnum also produce ornamental fruit, which can be red, blue, or black and persist into the fall and winter months.

Viburnum Varieties

There are over 150 species of Viburnum, with a wide range of sizes, colors, and growth habits.

Some of the most popular Viburnum varieties include:

  • Viburnum opulus: Also known as the European cranberry bush, this variety produces clusters of small, white flowers in the spring, followed by bright red berries in the fall.
  • Viburnum tinus: This evergreen shrub has glossy, dark green leaves and produces pink or white flowers in the winter.
  • Viburnum plicatum: This Japanese native produces white, lace-cap-like flowers in the spring and has a distinctive horizontal branching pattern.
  • Viburnum davidii: This evergreen shrub has dark green leaves and produces small, white flowers in the spring, followed by blue-black berries in the summer.
  • Viburnum trilobum: The American cranberry bush produces showy clusters of white flowers in the spring, followed by red berries in the fall.

Popular Viburnum Cultivars

In addition to the many species of Viburnum, numerous cultivars have been developed for their specific traits or characteristics.

Some popular Viburnum cultivars include the following:

  • Viburnum ‘Aurora’: This variety has pink buds that open to white flowers and produces bright red fruit in the fall.
  • Viburnum ‘Burkwoodii’: This cultivar has fragrant pink flowers that bloom in the spring and glossy, dark green leaves.
  • Viburnum ‘Carlcephalum’: This variety produces large clusters of white flowers with a sweet fragrance and has a rounded growth habit.
  • Viburnum ‘Snowball’: This cultivar has large, round clusters of white flowers that resemble snowballs and produce no fruit.

Growing Viburnum


Viburnums are relatively easy to grow, and with proper care and attention, they can thrive in various growing conditions.

Here are some tips for growing healthy and robust Viburnum plants.

Ideal Growing Conditions for Viburnum

Most Viburnums prefer full sun to partial shade, but some species can also tolerate full shade.

They prefer moist, well-draining soils but can also tolerate a range of soil types, from sandy to clay.

Viburnums are generally hardy plants and can withstand temperatures as low as -20°F (-7°C).

Soil Requirements for Viburnum

Viburnums prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil, with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5. They also require well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

If your soil is too heavy or has poor drainage, you can amend it with compost or other organic matter to improve its texture and fertility.

Best Time To Plant Viburnum

The best time to plant Viburnum is in the spring or fall when temperatures are mild and rainfall is abundant.

Planting in the spring allows the roots to establish before the hot summer months while planting in the fall allows the plant to acclimate before the winter dormancy.

How To Plant Viburnum?

When planting Viburnum, dig a hole twice the width and depth of the plant’s root ball.

Add a layer of compost or other organic matter to the bottom of the hole, and mix it with the soil.

Gently remove the plant from its container and place it in the center of the hole.

Backfill the hole with soil, and firm it down gently with your hands or a garden tool.

Water the plant thoroughly, and add a layer of mulch around the base to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Watering Viburnum

Viburnums prefer moist, well-draining soil, so keeping them well-watered is important, especially during hot, dry weather.

Water deeply and regularly, ensuring the soil is evenly moist but not waterlogged.

Avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases.

Mulching around the base of the plant can help retain moisture in the soil and reduce the need for frequent watering.

Caring for Viburnum

Viburnum flowers

To keep your Viburnum plants healthy and looking their best, provide them with proper care and maintenance.

Here are some tips for fertilizing, mulching, and pruning Viburnum.

Fertilizing Viburnum

Viburnums generally don’t require much fertilizer, but they can benefit from a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring.

Choose a fertilizer high in phosphorus and potassium, promoting healthy root and flower development.

Be careful not to over-fertilize, leading to excessive growth and weaker stems.

Mulching Viburnum

Mulching around the base of Viburnum plants can help retain moisture in the soil, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

Use a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or leaves, and apply it evenly around the base of the plant. Ensure not to pile it up against the stem.

Mulch should be applied in the spring and fall and replenished as needed.

Pruning Viburnum

Pruning promotes Viburnum healthy growth, removes dead or diseased wood, and enhances the plant’s natural shape and beauty.

Here are some tips for pruning Viburnum.

When To Prune Viburnum?

The best time to prune Viburnum depends on the species and the desired result.

Generally, Viburnum should be pruned in the late winter or early spring before new growth appears.

This allows the plant to heal and recover before the growing season begins.

If you’re pruning for shape or size, you can also prune in the summer after flowering.

Prune Viburnum With Care

When pruning Viburnum, use sharp, clean pruning shears or loppers to make clean, angled cuts just above a leaf node or bud. Avoid pruning too heavily to maintain a natural shape, and always step back to assess the plant’s overall structure and balance. Remove any dead or diseased wood and any crossing or rubbing branches.

Possible Problems With Viburnum

Viburnum plants are generally hardy and low-maintenance but can be susceptible to insects and diseases.

Here are some common problems you may encounter with Viburnum plants and how to deal with them.

Viburnum Insects

Some of the most common insects that can attack Viburnum plants include aphids, spider mites, scale insects, and whiteflies.

These pests can cause leaf yellowing, stunted growth, and in severe cases, plant death.

To control insect infestations, use horticultural oil or insecticidal soap.

Viburnum Diseases

Viburnum plants can also be susceptible to several diseases, including powdery mildew, leaf spot, and bacterial canker.

These diseases can cause leaf discoloration, defoliation, and twig dieback.

To prevent and treat Viburnum diseases, maintain good plant hygiene by removing and disposing of fallen leaves and diseased plant material.

You can also use a fungicide. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Wrong or overuse of fungicides will lead to resistance.


Like any relationship, growing and caring for Viburnum plants requires patience, attention, and a willingness to adapt.

But with their stunning blooms, rich foliage, and hardy resilience, these plants are more than worth the effort.

So take the plunge, cultivate a connection with Viburnum, and watch your garden thrive.

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