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Genus Viburnum

Viburnum Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum  Photo/Illustration: Michelle Gervais
vy-BURN-um
This species contains at least 150 species of evergreen, semi-evergreen, and deciduous shrubs (mostly) and trees that are cultivated for their attractive flowers, fruit, and foliage. Leaves are often rough and veiny, turning pleasing colors in the autumn. Flowers are white, pink, or cream, and sometimes fragrant. Fruit is red, blue, or black, and usually spherical. Viburnum are useful in a shrub border or woodland garden. Many species attract wildlife.
Noteworthy characteristics: Many species have good fall color, fragrant flowers, and ornamental fruits. Some Viburnum make good wildlife plants. Fruit may cause mild stomach upset if eaten.
Care: Grow in most any type of moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. Prune evergreen species when dormant by removing branches that disrupt the permanent, healthy framework. Prune deciduous Viburnums annually, after flowering.
Propagation: Take greenwood cuttings of deciduous viburnums, and semi-ripe cuttings of evergreen viburnums, in summer. Sow seed in autumn in a cold frame or seed bed.
Problems: Gray mold, rust, mildews, wood rot, Verticillium wilt, leaf spots, and die back occur, while aphids, scale insects, weevils, Japanese beetles, mealybugs, and tree hoppers are common.

Species, varieties and cultivars for genus Viburnum

Viburnum × burkwoodii 'Conoy' Viburnum × burkwoodii 'Conoy'
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This small deciduous shrub is covered in early spring with pink buds that burst open to reveal slightly fragrant, showy, flat-topped white flowers. Fleshy red fruit is borne in pendulous bunches in late August, darkening to all-black in October. Leaves fade to a dark maroon in the fall and winter months when planted in colder areas. Plants grow to about 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide. A cross between V. utile and V. × burkwoodii ‘Park Farm Hybrid’, this shrub is excellent as a foundation plant, as a specimen, in mass groupings, in a shrub border, or in containers. Evergreen to Zones 7 and 8.

no image available Viburnum × burkwoodii 'Mohawk'
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This shrub has a compact, rounded form, growing 8-10 feet tall and wide. In early spring, it produces showy lipstick-red buds that open to white flowers. Once open, the flowers scent the air with their spicy, clove-like perfume for another two weeks. The glossy dark green foliage is handsome throughout the growing season and resistant to bacterial leaf spot and powdery mildew. Foliage turns orange-red in autumn.

Viburnum carlesii Viburnum carlesii
(Koreanspice viburnum)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This deciduous shrub with toothed, dark green leaves bears pink buds in late spring that open to white or pink-flushed flowers borne in domed clusters. The intoxicating fragrance is reminiscent of spice cake. The plant also has attractive red foliage and berries in the fall. It grows to about 6 feet tall and wide.

Viburnum dentatum Viburnum dentatum
(Arrowwood viburnum)
(1 user review)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This woody, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub has a rounded shape and grows 5 to 9 feet tall and wide. It has toothed leaves and small, creamy white flowers in May to June that mature to bluish black spherical fruits.

Viburnam 'Eskimo' Viburnam 'Eskimo'
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

The 'Eskimo' viburnum is an extraordinary flowering shrub with stunning parents (V. "Cayuga' and V. untile). The pink-edged buds eventually open into elegant ivory snowballs. In the fall, the plant retains 60% of its leaves, which turn purple-black as fall progresses.

Viburnum macrocephalum Viburnum macrocephalum
(Chinese snowball viburnum)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This semi-evergreen or evergreen shrub has a rounded form. In late spring, it bears flower clusters—sometimes up to 8 inches wide—that start out chartreuse and turn pure white. Dark green leaves are semi-evergreen in southern states, where it can grow to 20 feet high and 15 feet wide.

Viburnum nudum Viburnum nudum
(Swamp haw, Smooth witherod)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This plant produces a myriad of tiny white flowers set in wide, stalked flower heads. The white flowers appear in early summer, then mature to egg-shaped berries that turn from green to creamy-pink, deepening throughout the summer and ending in a blue-black hue in autumn. Plants grow 12-15 feet tall and 6 feet wide.

Viburnum nudum 'Winterthur' Viburnum nudum 'Winterthur'
('Winterthur' smooth witherod viburnum)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

There are some shrubs that will light up the fall garden with both leaf color and fruit. 'Winterthur' viburnum is one of those shrubs. It begins its display in late summer, as clusters of half-inch-diameter fruit begin to blush pink and become more intense over the course of a few weeks until the whole shrub looks bedecked in bubble gum. The fruit quickly change to a deep blueberry blue as the glossy, leathery leaves become infused with maroon and red. 'Winterthur' maintains a compact, 6-foot-round, multistemmed habit that produces abundant fruit and more intense fall color than the species. In late spring, it's covered with small, off-white, slightly fragrant flowers.

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum
(Doublefile viburnum)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Doublefile viburnum is a horizontally branched, deciduous shrub native to China and Japan. Along its branches in mid-spring bloom double rows of flattened clusters of sterile florets, resembling lace-cap hydrangea flowers. Oval red fruit follows and ripens to black, often attracting birds.

Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Pink Beauty' Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum 'Pink Beauty'
('Pink Beauty' doublefile viburnum)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This shrub's signature characteristics are its tiered shape and handsome, grayish brown branches. It lights up in fall with reddish purple leaves and bright red fruits that change to black. In spring, flat flower clusters borne above stems open white and turn deep pink. Summer leaves are dark green with furrowed veins.

Viburnum prunifolium Viburnum prunifolium
(Blackhaw Viburnum)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Blackhaw Viburnum is a large shrub or small tree with clusters of creamy white flowers followed by pink-rose berries, which birds love to eat. Its distinctive bronze-green foliage on reddish purple stems turns blue-black in the fall. Blackhaw grows to 12 to 15 feet high and 8 to12 feet wide.

Viburnum rhytidophyllum Viburnum rhytidophyllum
(Leatherleaf viburnum)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This vigorous, coarsely textured evergreen shrub has an upright habit and 8-inch-long, lustrous, deeply veined oval leaves with dark blue-green surfaces and pale green undersides. The leaf stems are fuzzy brown. In spring, fragrant creamy-white flowers bloom in clusters. Blue berries form in June and become plump through September, maturing to glossy black. Plants grow 10-15 feet tall and wide.

Viburnum rufidulum Viburnum rufidulum
(Rusty blackhaw viburnum)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

While North American native viburnums occur most commonly in the eastern United States, rusty blackhaw viburnum flirts with the edge of the Plains. One of the most drought-tolerant species in the genus, rusty blackhaw viburnum has neither the showiest floral display nor heaviest fruit production. Still, its glossy, dark green, leathery foliage is reason enough to grow it; the rich burgundy tones of its fall foliage are icing on the cake.

Viburnum trilobum Viburnum trilobum
(American cranberry bush)
(4 user reviews)
Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This deciduous, rounded shrub grows to 15 feet tall with maple-like, lobed, dark green leaves that turn shades of red, yellow, and purple in autumn. White flowers resembling lace-cap hydrangeas bloom in spring and are followed by abundant red fruit loved by birds. Grow in a woodland garden or border, or as a wildlife plant.

Viburnum trilobum 'Bailey Compact' Viburnum trilobum 'Bailey Compact'
(American cranberry bush)
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Hardiness Zones: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

This low-key, trustworthy shrub is perfect for the back of the border, where its dense form will create a nice backdrop for showier summer plants. Come fall, however, it stands out with deep burgundy foliage and large, bright red berries. Birds don't like the fruit, so the berries often persist well into winter. 'Bailey Compact' is a dwarf version of this normally 20-foot-tall shrub.