Viburnum is a genus of about 150–175 species of flowering plants in the moschatel family Adoxaceae. Its current classification is based on molecular phylogeny. It was previously included in the honeysuckle family Caprifoliaceae. The member species are evergreen or deciduous shrubs or (in a few cases) small trees native throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere, with a few species extending into tropical montane regions in South America and southeast Asia. In Africa, the genus is confined to the Atlas Mountains. For most viburnum shrubs, bloom times span from early spring through June, followed by attractive fruit and outstanding fall foliage. Fast-growing viburnums can be grown as either shrubs or small trees.

There is no single type of viburnum foliage. It can be rounded, lance-shaped or toothed, smooth, velvety, or rough. There are some evergreen viburnum varieties, in addition to many deciduous varieties with outstanding fall color. The flowers come in three major types: flat clusters of florets, flat umbels outlined with larger flowers resembling lace-cap hydrangeas, and dome-shaped, snowball-like clusters. The fruit is a spherical, oval, or somewhat flattened drupe, red to purple, blue, or black, and containing a single seed; some are edible for humans, but many others are mildly poisonous. Butterflies love their flowers and birds love the berry-like fruit, so they’ll attract wildlife to your yard.

Table of Contents


3 - 20 feet

Width-Circumference (Avg)

3 - 12 feet

Approximate pH

5.0 - 8.0

Types of Viburnum

Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)

Arrowhead viburnum is a rounded shrub that can reach up to 15 feet (4.57 meters) tall and spread out just as wide. It grows dark green leaves and clusters of white flowers during the summer. In the fall, the green leaves will turn to gorgeous red tones. In late summer and early fall, you'll see berries that are black and look like blueberries.

It can withstand cold temperatures and will struggle in hot climates that don't receive cool winters. It should receive part shade or full sun, which is at least 4 hours of direct sunlight each day. With proper care, expect this shrub to grow up to 2 feet (60.69 centimeters) per year until it reaches maturity.

Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium)

The blackhaw viburnum is often used as a hedge because of its size and how easy it is to prune. It can grow 12-15 feet (3.65-4.57 meters), but likely won't spread out that long, making it a tall and thin shrub. When several plants are grown near each other in a row, they can be pruned as they mature so they'll form a hedge.

This viburnum variety grows small white flowers in the spring, followed by black or blueberries. The foliage will turn purple or red, making a useful privacy hedge an attractive centerpiece for your landscape. Like other viburnums, it needs full sun or partial shade to thrive.

Burkwood Viburnum (Viburnum × Burkwoodii)

The burkwood viburnum is a smaller variety, only reaching up to 10 feet (3.04 meters) tall at full maturity. It won't spread out to the same width, so it won't take up as much room in a landscape. This type of viburnum will grow either pink or white clusters of flowers in the spring, followed by red or blackberries in the summer.

The plant should have full or partial sun exposure for it to be happy. The plant will go dormant during winter in cold areas and have showy red leaves during the fall, but it will remain evergreen in warmer areas. The growth rate is about the same as the arrowhead variety, so it should grow up to 2 feet (60.69 centimeters) per year.

Chinese Snowball (Viburnum macrocephalum)

Chinese snowball grows to 12 to 20 feet tall with a dense, rounded form. The spectacular, 6- to 8-inch flower clusters open in March or April. The blossoms are composed entirely of large, sterile flowers that are lime green at first, changing to white. Flowers are not followed by fruit, but this species often re-blooms in late summer or fall. Plants are heat tolerant and will grow well in most areas, but will not tolerate drought. Flowers are most abundant in full sun, but afternoon or dappled shade will help prevent summer wilting.

Cinnamon-Leaved Viburnum (Cinnamomum camphora)

The cinnamon-leaved viburnum is a giant variety that can reach up to 20 feet (6.09 meters) tall and spread out just as wide. It's ideal for landscapes that have a lot of bare space. The flowers are pink and white, and the plant boasts bright red stems and dark leaves. The plant will eventually grow blueberries.

This shrub should receive partial shade or full sun exposure. It's an evergreen variety that will keep its leathery green leaves all year long. If you don't want the shrub to become massive, you'll need to prune it frequently.

David Viburnum (Viburnum davidii)

The David viburnum is essentially the little sibling of the cinnamon-leaved viburnum. You'll see many similarities between the two, including red stems, blueberries, and the shape of the leaves. However, the size of the David variety is far from substantial, reaching only 3-5 feet (0.91-1.52 meters) tall. If you're looking for a modest shrub to use in a small yard or a short hedge, this variety will work well.

This viburnum variety likes partial or full sun, but it will do better when it receives shade in the afternoon to prevent it from scorching. It's a slow grower, so you shouldn't expect it to reach full size in the first year, even if its full size is small.

Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum)

The double-file viburnum takes on the shape of a small tree rather than a shrub. It will only grow to about 10 feet (3.04 meters) but can provide a bit of shade if it's placed in the center of a yard. This viburnum variety takes on a layered appearance since the flowers and leaves face the sky. The unique look of this plant will add some dimension and texture to any landscape.

As expected, this viburnum likes full sun or partial shade. However, it requires a bit more water than other varieties. Keep the soil moist, but don't let it stand in water, or you'll risk rotting the roots.

European Cranberrybush (Viburnum Opulus)

Although it's called the European cranberrybush, it's still a viburnum. Cranberrybush is a common name for this variety because it grows berries that resemble cranberries. The shrub only reaches up to 6 feet (1.82 meters) and grows clusters of white flowers in the spring, followed by bright red berries in the fall. The berries are edible, but they're so tart that most people don't want to eat them.

This plant prefers plenty of water, but it should have good drainage, so it doesn't become waterlogged. Although the plant is small, its dense and will have a lot of foliage and flowers. The leaves will turn colors and fall off as it cools down in the fall.

Fragrant Snowball Viburnum (Viburnum x carlcephalum)

The fragrant snowball viburnum, sometimes only referred to as the fragrant snowball, grows round clusters of white flowers which look a lot like snowballs. But, this plant thrives in warm climates with cool winters and won't grow well in colder areas. The white snowballs bloom in spring and will grow red and blackberries, followed by red leaves in the fall.

The plant will grow up to 10 feet (3.04 meters) tall. It's a drought-tolerant shrub once it's established, making it a low-maintenance plant. If you don't intend to prune it, this will be an enjoyable hands-off approach to a beautiful landscape.

Hobblebush (Viburnum lantanoides)

The hobblebush is a large viburnum variety that seems only to grow larger. When the arching branches are left to sit on the ground, they'll form roots and begin growing. The hobblebush earned its common name because its many roots and branches are known to trip people and make them hobble. If you're not interested in frequently pruning shrubs, this won't be the best choice.

Like other varieties, this one grows white flowers that grow blueberries. The foliage will turn red or purple in the fall before it goes dormant for the winter.

Japanese Snowball Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum)

The Japanese snowball viburnum is similar to the fragrant snowball with its rounded clusters of white flowers. This viburnum variety may also be called Popcorn since the flower clusters also resemble popcorn balls.

This variety only grows about half as tall as the fragrant snowball viburnum. The smaller size makes it ideal for short privacy hedges since it's not too tall to keep pruned. It's drought-tolerant, although it will look its best when it's given frequent waterings.

Japanese Viburnum (Viburnum Japonicum)

The Japanese viburnum blooms small white flowers in the spring and red berries in the fall. The oval leaves are dark green and glossy and may stay on the plant all year long in cooler areas.

The plant will reach up to 8 feet (2.43 meters) tall and needs frequent watering. It can't survive in cold climates and should be heavily mulched during the winter if you try to grow it in places where it gets cold in winter.

Judd Viburnum (Viburnum x juddii)

Judd viburnum got its name from William H. Judd, who created the hybrid. It has rounded flower clusters like the snowball viburnum varieties, but the flowers are pink instead of white. The dark green leaves will turn purple in the fall as the plant grows red berries that will turn black.

The shrub will grow to be 8 feet (2.43 meters) tall and spread out a few feet wider. It can grow in cool and mild climates and will go dormant in the winter. This variety is great to use as a privacy hedge or as a centerpiece in a landscape.

Korean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)

The Korean spice viburnum is native to Korea and Japan and can easily grow in similar climates. It's a smaller variety, reaching only 6 feet (1.82 meters) tall and spreading out just as wide, although it may occasionally spread out a bit wider. This unique variety grows redbuds in the spring that open up in spring to reveal pink flowers that eventually change to white. The plant will produce dark blueberries during summer.

The plant prefers to be watered frequently and can tolerate cool climates. It can be grown as a hedge or left untrimmed to be a beautiful mid-sized shrub.

Laurustinus Viburnum (Viburnum tinus)

The laurustinus viburnum is native to the Mediterranean. It can partially tolerate drought and salt, making it a viable choice from coastal to arid climates. This plant grows up to 12 feet (3.65 meters) tall but won't spread out as wide. It's great for tall privacy hedges but will serve as a beautiful centerpiece in yards.

The plant has shiny dark green foliage and white flowers that come out of pink buds. It will grow berries ranging from blue to black in the fall. It prefers full sun or partial shade and should receive plenty of water. However, it can adapt to dry conditions once it's established.

Leatherleaf Viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum)

Leatherleaf viburnum has slender oval-shaped leaves that are quite different than most viburnum varieties. It grows bright red buds that bloom white flowers and eventually have blackberries. The leaves are light or dark green.

In warm climates, this plant is evergreen, but it will have a deciduous life cycle in colder areas. It can grow up to 10 feet (3.04 meters) and spread out about the same length.

Mapleleaf Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)

The maple leaf viburnum has distinctive maple leaf-shaped leaves that are bright green but turn magenta in the fall. The plant is prized for its beautiful autumnal foliage in the fall and its elegant white flowers in the spring. The berries it produces are black with blue hues. This plant only reaches up to 6 feet (1.82 meters) tall and spreads out to about half that size.

Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)

It's said that nanny goats like to eat the berries off the nannyberry, which is how it got its name. Its scientific name is Viburnum lentago, so it is, indeed, a viburnum. This massive shrub can grow up to 16 feet (4.87 meters) tall and spread out up to 12 feet (3.65 meters). However, with diligent pruning, you can train it to grow as a tree with one single trunk that will reach up to 30 feet (9.14 meters).

The nannyberry is deciduous and can survive cold winters. It has bright green leaves and white flower clusters that produce dark blueberries that can make jelly or jam.

Sandankwa Viburnum (Viburnum suspensum)

The sandankwa viburnum is native to Japan and is commonly used in Florida and other places with similar climates. It can be used as a hedge or grown as a small tree. It can reach up to 12 feet (3.65 meters) and grown on a single trunk if it's routinely trimmed. The plant has dark green leaves and white flowers and will grow red and blackberries.

Sargent Viburnum

The Sargent viburnum is deciduous and can survive cold winters. It has dark green leaves that start out as maroon when they first appear. It grows up to 10 feet (3.04 meters) tall and prefers to grow in full sun or partial shade. The red buds produce white flowers and red berries.

This plant can be grown as a hedge or a single bush. Pruning may allow you to grow it as a tree, but it will be short if you go that route.

Snowball Bush (Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ or ‘Sterile’)

The snowball bush is named for its snowball-shaped clusters of flowers, just like the other snowball viburnum varieties we saw earlier. The flowers are replaced with bright red berries in the fall. It can survive cold temperatures and prefers frequent watering. It grows in boggy soil in some places, so it can take on more water than usual.

Please note that this plant is now considered invasive in parts of the United States.

Sweet Viburnum (Viburnum odoratissimum)

Sweet viburnum can be grown as a large shrub or a small tree. It can reach up to 20 feet (6.09 meters) tall, so it may not be the best choice for a privacy hedge. It will behave as deciduous or semi-evergreen, depending on how cold the climate is. The best growing condition for this shrub is full sun with afternoon shade. It grows white flowers with red berries.

This plant isn't recommended if you want to prune it vigorously. The plant will become leggy and won't look full if it's pruned too much.

Tubeflower Viburnum (Viburnum cylindricum)

The tubeflower viburnum got its name from the tube-shaped flowers it produces. It looks much different compared to other viburnum varieties. The clusters of flowers will look sparse compared to others since the flowers don't open up and cover the stems. Occasionally it can grow egg-shaped berries that are black, but this type of viburnum doesn't grow berries as often as other varieties do.

Viburnum tinus “Gwenllian”

Gwenllian is the name of this cultivar of Viburnum tinus. It grows white and pink flowers and can grow berries that are either black, blue, or red. What makes this variety unique is how it blooms in late winter instead of in the spring or summer. It prefers mild climates that have cold but not sub-zero temperatures.

Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum Lantana)

The wayfaring tree is a medium-sized viburnum variety measuring up to 8 feet (2.43 meters). It has dark green leaves and clusters of white flowers that will make red berries in July that will eventually turn black. This variety is drought-tolerant and grows best when the soil is on the dry side. If you live in an area that receives a lot of rain, you should make sure this plant has excellent drainage so the roots won't stay soggy.

Witherod Viburnum (Viburnum Cassinoides)

Witherod viburnum is native to North America. It's found in fields, swamps, bogs, and woods, so it can withstand considerable amounts of moisture. The branches are usually small and thin and it has dark green leaves that turn red, purple, and orange in the fall. White flowers form in the spring and are followed by berries that will be a variety of colors such as green, pink, blue, black, and red. Sometimes all of the colors of berries may be in the same cluster at one time.

Planting Viburnum

When to Plant Viburnum

  • Plant viburnum shrubs in spring or fall.

Choosing and Preparing a Planting Site

  • Viburnums thrive in full sun to partial or mostly shade, depending on the variety.

  • Provide moisture-retaining but well-draining, fertile soil. Add compost or aged manure, if necessary, before planting.

  • The pH needs may vary by species; pH 5.5 to 6.5 is average. Check the variety, test the soil, and amend it as required.

How to Plant Viburnum

  • Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and 2 times as wide. Set plants so that top roots are at the soil level or slightly below.

  • Half-fill the hole with soil, and then water it well to settle the soil. Fill in with remaining soil.

  • On the soil surface, form a rim of soil around the outer edge of the hole.

  • Water inside the ring.

  • Space plants 4 to 10 feet apart, depending on the variety’s estimated size at maturity.

Growing Viburnum

How to Grow Viburnum From Seed

Growing viburnum from seed can be done, but it's a laborious process. Most experts suggest propagating from cuttings instead.

How to Get Viburnum to Bloom

If your viburnum is not blooming, look at the location—though it can handle some shade, those kept in full sun will form blooms more readily. Watering might also be an issue, as viburnum needs to be in well-drained soil. Remember that too much nitrogen can encourage lush foliage but stunt the explosion of blooms. Since the plant blooms on old wood, don't trim them during dormancy, as this will eliminate the bloom-producing buds.

Viburnum Care

In general, viburnums are not particular about where they grow, though they prefer fairly rich, moist soil. Viburnums do not transplant well once established, so the best strategy is to plant well-established container-grown plants and take care to choose a location where the shrub will have room to grow. Early spring is the best time for transplanting, giving them a full season to adjust.

To plant viburnum, dig a hole as deep as the container and twice as wide. Gently remove the plant from the container and place it in the center of the hole. Backfill the hole halfway, add some water, then fill the hole completely.

After planting, add a 2-inch layer of mulch to keep the soil moist and hold in moisture. During hot weather, the shrubs should be watered every 7 to 10 days. Little pruning is necessary, though some species can be trained to form tree-like plants by removing competing stems.


Viburnums prefer full sun but will tolerate part shade. In fact, some afternoon shade is desirable in the warmer zones of the plant's hardiness range.


These shrubs prefer fairly moist, well-drained soil, but they do not like to have their roots soaking in water. Viburnums like slightly acidic soil but many types will tolerate alkaline soil.


A deep watering every week is usually sufficient, either through rainfall or irrigation. Native varieties that are well-established have a fairly good drought tolerance.

Temperature and Humidity

Viburnums prefer moderate conditions, though the preferences vary greatly depending on species. Extremely hot weather requires extra watering, and very cold temperatures can stunt the plant or cause dieback.


Most viburnums need little more than one application each year of a balanced, time-release fertilizer mixed into the soil in spring. For the amount, follow the product label instructions. Once established, most shrubs do well without any feeding.

Pruning and Propagating Viburnum


Leggy shoots can be trimmed back in early summer to maintain the shrub's form. As viburnum blooms on old wood, pruning should be undertaken only after the bloom period. Broken, dead, or diseased branches should be removed as soon as you notice them. Tree forms of this plant may require some pruning to achieve the desired shape.

Propagating Viburnum

You can propagate viburnum from softwood or hardwood cuttings.

  1. For softwood cuttings, choose a vigorous branch of 4 to 6 inches in length. Take the cutting in the morning, if possible. Remove leaves from the lower third. For hardwood cuttings, choose a strong stem and cut 8 to 10 inches of it, stripping the leaves from the bottom half and making sure to include at least a few nodes.

  2. Fill small pots with a moist mixture of peat and perlite and make a small hole in the center of the mix.

  3. Dip the stem in rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in the pot.

  4. Cover the cutting with a plastic bag or dome and keep it in indirect light, with damp soil, until the roots begin to form in about four weeks for a softwood cutting. Rooting might be slower for a hardwood cutting but should still occur within a few months.

  5. Test for rooting by pulling gently on the plant. If there's resistance, the plant is beginning to establish roots. Remove the plastic and place in a spot that provides bright indirect light. Before planting in the landscape, gradually acclimate your plant to the outdoors by placing it in a protected area for a few hours every day for a week or 10 days.


Viburnum as Cut Flowers

Viburnum is one among many woody ornamentals that can be cut and put in a vase.

  1. Cut thin branches when the buds are starting to open.

  2. Recut the bottom of the stem before placing in a vase.

  3. Change the water every 2 to 3 days and the blooms will last about 1 week.

  4. Viburnum branches can also be forced into bloom in early spring.

Potting and Repotting Viburnum

Carefully choose your cultivar for planting in pots; some types of viburnum must have the space an outdoor planting provides, while others are ideal for smaller habitats. Plant the viburnum in large containers with drainage holes; the pot should be at least 8 inches wider than the root ball. This plant needs well-draining soil and full sun. To avoid soggy soil, add 10%-20% perlite to the mix.


Viburnum is hardy but might drop leaves in colder weather. Prune off dead leaves and branches. Come spring, your shrub will recover.

Pests and Plant Diseases

The fact that few pests bother viburnums is one of the reasons they have become so popular in the landscape. However, in 1947 the viburnum leaf beetle (VLB) arrived in Canada and made its way to New York state in 1996. The VLB, Pyrrhalta viburni (Paykull), is capable of great damage and is being closely watched. The best way to combat viburnum leaf beetles is to remove egg-infested leaves and encourage predatory insects. Some organic pesticides are also effective, but avoid synthetic pesticides, which also kill beneficial insects.

Common Problems with Viburnum

Fortunately, viburnum has few issues for gardeners to contend with. However, if you notice any of the following, treat the problem immediately to ensure the health of your plant.

Black Spots or White Growth on Leaves

This is often the result of a fungal disease, such as powdery mildew, downy mildew, or fungal leaf spots. To prevent this, water the plants from overhead, use a fungicide on affected plants, and destroy parts of the plant that are already affected.

Stunted or Yellow Leaves

This might be the result of Armillaria root rot, which can be determined by a white fungal growth under the bark and at the crown of the tree or shrub. If this problem has made its way into the trunk, the only solution is to dig up and discard the viburnum.

Dead, Wilted, and Discolored Leaves

Viburnum could be affected by canker, which is a fungal problem. This often occurs with trees that are already stressed. The most effective treatment is restoring the plant to health, as it can likely fight off this particular issue on its own.

Benefits and Harms of Viburnum

The plant’s rich composition gives an astringent, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hemostatic, vitaminizing, antibacterial, and expectorant effect. Solutions, in the creation of which the bark, fruits, or leaves of the plant were involved, help with diseases of the woman’s genitourinary system. These include:

  • uterine bleeding;

  • painful and heavy menstruation;

  • fibroids;

  • nephritis and pyelonephritis;

  • cystitis; bacterial infections.

Various compresses from viburnum juice perfectly treat mastitis – a particularly relevant issue for pregnant women. During menopause, viburnum helps fight hot flashes in women, increased sweating, and irritability associated with changes in hormonal levels during this period.

Viburnum: Benefits for Women

For women of reproductive age, the viburnum can normalize the muscle tone of the uterus. Needless to say about general health, youthful skin, hair health. There are many different plant uses: take as a decoction, make compresses, prepare various baths and masks for hair, body – whatever, viburnum is universal and unique in its product.

Eating viburnum in food will saturate the body with the necessary vitamins and minerals, creating a protective barrier for bacteria and viruses, normalizing the nervous system, normalizing sleep, and increasing efficiency.

Visburnum: Benefits and Harms for Men

Viburnum is good for the heart: it is good to use for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Diseases of the heart and blood vessels negatively affect the erection (an important component for the continuation of the human race); therefore, it is necessary to prevent the development of problems in time.

The immune system of men, like women, requires constant support. The viburnum’s vitamin composition envelops the body and prevents the pathogenic bodies from penetrating deep into the body.

Fighting hypertension. The systematic use of various recipes based on viburnum helps to normalize blood pressure. Viburnum also carries out the prevention of diseases of the intestinal tract. Useful properties help to cope with flatulence, constipation, bloating.

The unique trace elements contained in the fruits of the plant help in partial neutralization of the negative effects of fatty unhealthy foods, alcohol, and tobacco.

Viburnum: Harm

Even though this plant has been trendy for many years, treats various diseases, and restores the human body, it can negatively affect if it is misused, for example, for certain diseases. Contraindications include:

  • low blood pressure – ripe fruits reduce it even more, negative consequences, in this case, cannot be avoided;

  • pregnancy – viburnum contains elements that are similar to female hormones in their action. It turns out that during pregnancy, the mother’s body already produces an increased number of hormones, and you should not use viburnum inside;

  • joint diseases – a large number of organic acids adversely affect cartilage and joints. Therefore, gout, arthritis, and other diseases are a direct contraindication for the use of viburnum berries.

  • Allergic reaction – various rashes on the skin. It occurs due to an overdose of vitamin C, which is contained in ripe viburnum fruits;

  • thrombophlebitis – viburnum promotes rapid blood clotting;

  • individual intolerance to some elements in the viburnum (usually manifested in the form of rashes, nausea or headache may also appear);

  • diseases of the liver, kidneys, and their exacerbation – viburnum contains ascorbic acid, which irritates the inflamed organs.

Viburnum: Vitamin

The bunches are rich in various vitamins, but most of the space is given to C and A groups. Also, this short shrub contains tannins and pectins. They are indispensable in the treatment and restoration of the gastrointestinal tract’s normal functional activity.

Viburnum Possesses:

Relieves stress, treats neuroses, helps to cope with insomnia and hysteria.

  • The treatment of varicose veins – rubbing from viburnum is not a medication but a rather effective method. You need to use it in conjunction with other medications.

  • Treatment of the cardiovascular system. Folk recipes using viburnum berries are effective, but they have both beneficial properties and contraindications. As mentioned above, with increased blood clotting, viburnum will negatively affect the patient’s body and even lead to blood clots.

  • Rejuvenating effect – has a beneficial effect on the skin and smoothes it, removes wrinkles. But this is possible only with the regular use of viburnum broths.

Viburnum branches and wood. They are rich in essential oils with salicin content and tannins with a lot of tannins. They have an antiseptic, astringent, enveloping effect. Viburnum leaves are rich in various chemical compounds with diaphoretic, carminative, antioxidant, and tonic properties. Also, the leaves can stimulate appetite, improve digestion. In general, this plant is an untranslatable product; all components have a beneficial effect.


  • Viburnum shrubs and their flowers are primarily used for decorative purposes around the landscape.

  • In prehistory, the long, straight shoots of some viburnums were used for arrow-shafts.

  • The fruit of some species (e.g. V. lentago) are edible and can be eaten either raw or for making jam, while other species (e.g. V. opulus) are mildly toxic and can cause vomiting if eaten in quantity.

  • The bark of some species is used in herbal medicine, as an antispasmodic and to treat asthma.

  • In Ukraine Viburnum opulus is an important element of their traditional folk cultures.

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All