Everyday Gardeners

Plant. Grow. Live.

Viva Viburnums

Brandywine viburnum (Viburnum nudum 'Bulk') has glossy red leaves in autumn.

Brandywine viburnum (Viburnum nudum 'Bulk') has glossy red leaves in autumn.

Viburnums truly are plants for all seasons. I’ve added half a dozen different kinds to my yard because I love their pink or white flowers in the spring, their pink, red, blue, or black berries summer through early winter, and outstanding fall color. Brandywine viburnum, pictured above is a type of possumhaw viburnum (I love that common name!). Those with more refined tastes may refer to it by its alternate common name, smooth witherod. This particular variety is known for its spectacular display of pink and blue berries. Mine is only in its second year, so hasn’t bloomed and fruited yet, but the fall color this year has been gorgeous. I’m hoping that by next year it will have some of its fragrant white flower clusters, and produce some berries. But I’d grow it for the fall color alone.

American highbush cranberry viburnum (Viburnum trilobum)

American highbush cranberry viburnum (Viburnum trilobum)

The American highbush cranberry viburnum (left) has white flowers in spring and red cranberry-like fruits from mid-summer into winter. Berries are tart, but edible, similar to its namesake fruit. Unless you’re a lover of pucker-producing fruits, it’s not likely to become your favorite, but the flavor is acceptable. Birds usually leave the berries alone until the fruits have frozen a few times. I’ve been told that winged wildlife like them best fermented on the shrub. This time of year, the rich red, three-lobed leaves set off the ripe fruits nicely.

Compact Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii 'Compactum')

Compact Korean spice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii 'Compactum')

Another viburnum with great fall color is the compact Korean spice viburnum (right). It kicks off the spring season with extremely fragrant clusters of pinkish white blooms that develop into red fruits which ripen black. Fall color is bright red with touches of yellow and orange, creating a warm glow from within the center of the shrub.

The doublefile viburnum (below) is sometimes mistaken for dogwood in the springtime with its large white blooms on horizontal branches. The flowers develop into red berries that ripen black. This time of year, it puts on another display in fiery hues. Because its leaves are covered in fine hairs, it lacks the glossy showiness of the Korean spice or possumhaw viburnums, but it puts on a nice show nonetheless.

Doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum tomentosum)

Doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum tomentosum)

Other viburnums in my yard are less showy this time of year. Leaves of Blue Muffin arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum), for example, turn subdued yellowish brown. Others, such as the lantanaphyllum viburnum (Viburnum X rhytidophylloides) are semi-evergreen, keeping their green color until their leaves drop.

I’ll keep on the lookout for other viburnums to add to the landscape. Although there’s not a lot of space left, I’ll find a way to cram in a few more of these showy shrubs because they are so attractive in several seasons, are easy to grow, and virtually trouble-free.

3 Responses to “ Viva Viburnums ”

  1. Denny, thank you so much for ID’ing the Doublefile Viburnum. They grow wild here on our Tennessee hillside. People have asked me what they are and I haven’t had an answer…now I do. One thing, here, they tend to get a bit invasive…so I’ve left them in the woods. Is the variety mentioned in your article collected from the wild, or a hybrid?

    Thanks
    v. campbell

  2. Thank-You so much for including Viburnums in this blog. I truely love the autumn color and berries on certain viburnums. I planted the Korean Spice,Shasta Doublefile, Japanese Snowball, and many others this past spring. I plan on adding a few more, because once you get the viburnum bug you just don’t know how to stop.

    Thanks again,
    P. Thomas

  3. Vera & Patt,
    Thanks for your comments. As you say, once bitten by the viburnum bug, there’s no returning! They are an outstanding group of shrubs.,
    The doublefile viburnum in my yard is a passalong plant from a gardening friend. Doublefile viburnum has the habit of suckering up from the base, and I was fortunate enough to be the recipient of one of these “pups”. I have since taken 2 more “babies” from my original plant. But none is spreading invasively. They’re near their northern limit of hardiness here in Iowa, so we don’t have trouble with them getting out of bounds.




© Copyright , Meredith Corporation. All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Data Policy | Terms of Service | AdChoices