Saturday, March 30, 2013

Feature Spring Flowering Shrub: Viburnum

~Viburnum Varieties~

Spring has arrived and a favorite and versatile flowering shrub for the garden is viburnum.  There are over 150 varieties of this deciduous to semi-evergreen shrub ranging in size from three to twenty feet, many of which are native to Long Island.  Viburnum are known for their elegant pinkish-white blooms, some fragrant, followed by bright green foliage.  Many species are noted for their brilliant fall foliage followed by berries, which are an excellent food source for winter birds. Viburnum prefer to be grown in full sun to partial shade in a moist but well-drained slightly acidic (pH 5.6-6.6) soil.   Due to their versatility they fit beautifully into a number of landscapes including shrub borders, foundation plantings, screening or woodland plantings. The varieties of viburnum that will be discussed here have proven to be successful in the northeastern zone 7 garden.
Viburnum 'Summer Snowflake'
Height 6-8', Width 8-10'
Hardy to Zone 5
Viburnum 'Summer Snowflake' is definitely a favorite and one of the more popular varieties I use in my landscape designs because of its more compact habit and profuse flat white flowers that last throughout summer and somewhat resemble a dogwood bloom. 'Summer Snowflake' is commonly planted in groupings and can reach a height of 6-8 feet, but can be maintained as a smaller shrub.   It is a lovely addition to an informal foundation planting or in a woodland setting. 
Viburnum 'Carlcephalum' (Fragrant)
Height 6-10', Width 6-10'
Hardy to Zones 4-5

If you are looking to appeal to the senses then Viburnum 'Carlcephalum' will surround you with fragrant snowball like clusters of blooms in early spring.  This variety of viburnum is commonly used as a backdrop in a perennial border or as an individual focal point in the garden and is one of the first viburnums to bloom.
Viburnum 'Juddii' (Fragrant)
Height 4-6', Width 4-6'
Hardy to Zones 4-5

Viburnum 'Juddii' is a favorite for the informal woodland setting and and its lovely bright green foliage fits in nicely against a backdrop of darker evergreens.  'Juddii' produces sweetly fragrant clusters of pinkish-white blooms in early spring and stays full and rounded at a mature height and width of 4-6 feet.

Viburnum 'Juddii' Bloom 
Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesi'
Height 4-6', Width 4-6'
Hardy to Zones 4-5
 Viburnum 'Mariesi' produces deep green ridged foliage and beautiful white blooms resembling those of a lace cap hydrangea on a rounded 4-6' high by wide shrub in late spring.  Its tiered branching habit makes it a graceful addition to a mixed border or natural landscape.   
Viburnum carlesi 'Korean Spice' (Fragrant)
Height 4-6', Height 4-6'
Hardy to Zones 4-5
'Korean Spice' Viburnum is another favorite displaying pinkish buds in spring followed by clusters of highly fragrant pinkish-white blooms.   Given the name 'Korean Spice' the blooms give off an aroma resembling spice cake throughout the landscape.  The dark green foliage of this viburnum turns to a bright red in fall followed by the appearance of attractive berries.
Viburnum rhytidophyllum 'Leatherleaf' (Semi-Evergreen)-Fragrant
Height 10-15', Width 10-15'
Hardy to Zones 3-5

The last is 'Leatherleaf' Viburnum which is one of the semi-evergreen varieties in zone 7.  Due to its higher stature it is often used as hedging or as a backdrop in privacy border.  In spring Viburnum rhytidophyllum 'Leatherleaf' produces fragrant clusters of creamy-white blooms on coarsely textured blue-green foliage.  Fall interest includes the formation of blue berries starting in June and developing into mature black berries by September.  Leatherleaf Viburnum will tolerate shadier conditions and moister soil conditions than most other viburnums.

Viburnum are a wonderful way to welcome spring.  Their versatility makes them an excellent addition to many a landscape and while providing all season interest another attribute is that they are also "deer resistant".  Try one or more of the many varieties available as an addition to your landscape.

Happy Spring and Happy Gardening!

Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, Copyright 2013. All rights reserved



  1. Hi Lee...thanks for such an informative post. I have several Viburnum and I just love them.

  2. Thank you for visiting Christy and leaving a comment. I have seen Viburnum in your gardens and they are so pretty! There are so many varieties which make them very versatile and great for the natural look.

  3. Thanks for all the info, I have two Viburnums, 'Farreri' and 'Eskimo'. The first one is very tall, very early to flower and very fragrant. The second is very small, very late to flower and not very fragrant. They kind of complement each other :-) I'd love to have some more fragrant viburnums, if I could just find a space to squeeze them in!

  4. Oh, they are each beautiful! I don't have a viburnum in my garden, but now I wonder why I've overlooked this shrub. I need to rectify that situation!

  5. My Viburnum burkwoodii is right off my deck and is the first fragrant shrub to bloom in the spring. The flowers are dainty and white, like many of the ones you show. The scent is a rich vanilla.
    The other one I love is Mariesii, as the flowers bloom horizontally across the branches.
    Thanks for the descriptions and names of others, Lee!

  6. Helene-I just checked out the 'Ferrari' and 'Eskimo' Viburnums and they are gorgeous! I have not seen those in nurserys around here but will have to keep an eye out. Astrid-I also love the Mariesii and Burkwoodi. They should be blooming soon if spring will hurry up and just get here!

  7. Viburnum is perfect to plant in a garden this spring and for sure it makes our garden looks more attractive. I also plan to plant spring flowers with different colors and Viburnum is my top option.

  8. Viburnum are among my favourite shrubs, sadly they aren't very suited to the hot conditions in my garden. I have burkwoodii and Carlesii, neither flower more much more than 2 weeks but their fragrance is so good, I think they are worth their space. Christina


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!


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