Good luck finding a more diverse group of shrubs for the garden. Viburnums offer something for everyone. Whether you plant them for their colorful berries, showy flowers, wonderful fragrance, or brilliant foliage and stem color, viburnum options are seemingly endless.
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Viburnum bloom time can fall anywhere from early spring to late summer, depending on the species. Flower shapes and sizes also vary. Some varieties, like doublefile viburnum, have layered blooms. Snowball bush viburnum has flowers that look much as its name suggests. Many early-blooming varieties also have fragrant flowers. The Korean spice viburnum in particular is often grown for its spicy scent.
Related: Planning a Fragrant Garden
Viburnum foliage is usually green, but some varieties have white or yellow variegation. Doublefile viburnum has pronounced veining. Many types have fiery autumn foliage, while some are evergreen or semi-evergreen, holding their leaves through winter.
Most viburnums have eye-catching berries to top off the pretty flowers and foliage. A few, like the arrowhead viburnum, are grown for their bright blue berries in the fall. Cranberry bush viburnum has bright berries that resemble cranberries (be warned, though, the fruit often has a funky smell some people liken to dirty socks). Viburnum berries can range from red, pink, blue, purple, and even black.
Viburnum Care Must-Knows
As diverse as viburnums are, site requirements don't vary much. Generally, full sun is best for the finest show of blooms, berries, and fall color. Some thick-leaf varieties, however, can tolerate some shade. In the shade, be mindful of foliar diseases like black spot. Viburnums also prefer to stay dry. If you need to prune your viburnums, do it immediately after flowering; waiting too long can sacrifice some of next year's blooms.
Related: 22 Best Plants for Hedges
More Varieties of Viburnum
Viburnum dentatum is an upright shrub native to areas of North America. It offers a good show of orange-yellow fall color, clusters of white flowers in spring to late summer, and blue-black fruits in fall. It grows 10 feet tall and wide. Zones 3-8
Viburnum burkwoodii is a rounded, evergreen to deciduous shrub (depending on area) that develops domed clusters of pink buds that open to very fragrant tubular white flowers. The red fruit ripens to black in fall. It grows 8 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-8
European Cranberry Bush
Viburnum opulus 'Roseum' features lobed, maple leaflike, dark green foliage and clusters of bright red berries following the lacecap flowers. It grows 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Zones 4-8
'Wentworth' American Cranberry Bush
Viburnum trilobum 'Wentworth' is a colorful selection that features rich red autumn foliage and yellow-red fruits that ripen to deep red. It grows 15 feet tall by 12 feet wide. Zones 2-7
American Cranberry Bush
Viburnum trilobum is native to areas of North America and features maplelike leaves that show good fall color in shades of yellow to red. Lacecap-type blooms in spring are followed by edible red fruits. It grows 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Zones 2-7
Viburnum x rhytidophylloides 'Allegheny' is a rounded, semi-evergreen shrub with long, dark green leaves and an abundance of yellowish-white flower clusters in spring and red fruits in fall. It grows 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Zones 5-8
'Aurora' Korean Spice Viburnum
Viburnum carlesii 'Aurora' features large clusters of extremely fragrant tubular flowers, white to pink-blushed white, in mid- to late spring. The toothed, dark green leaves redden in fall when grown in colder climates. It grows 8 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-8
'Aurantiacum' Tea Viburnum
Viburnum setigerum 'Aurantiacum' is an upright, deciduous shrub with dark green to blue-green foliage that produces white flowers in spring, followed by abundant orange-red fruits. It grows 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Zones 5-7
Viburnum plicatum tomentosum offers horizontal branches that are laden with flattened lacecap flowers in late spring, followed by sprays of red fruit that ripen to blue black. Plants grow 10 feet tall and 12 feet wide. Zones 4-9
Chinese Snowball Viburnum
Viburnum macrocephalum offers big, pompom clusters of snowy-white flowers in late spring on a rounded, deciduous shrub that can also be trained as a small tree. It does not produce fruit and grows 15 feet tall and wide. Zones 7-9
Korean Spice Viburnum
Viburnum carlesii is a bushy, deciduous shrub that bears extremely fragrant white flowers in mid- to late spring. The toothed, dark green leaves redden in fall. It grows 6 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-8
'Summer Snowflake' Viburnum
Viburnum plicatum 'Summer Snowflake' is a compact selection with white flowers in spring and again in summer and fall. It displays excellent autumn foliage color and reddish fruits. It grows 5 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-8
Viburnum x juddii is a rounded shrub highlighted by dark green leaves that may redden before dropping in fall. Clusters of fragrant pink-tinged flowers open from pink buds mid- to late spring. It grows 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Zones 5-9