I think I can honestly say I have never met a Viburnum I didn't like - they come from a good family, always look neat and tidy, often smell good and don't crave constant attention. This genus of evergreen and deciduous shrubs are great background performers and should not be overlooked when planning a new garden or refurbishing an existing planting scheme.
Viburnums are tolerant of just about any soil but they are happiest in a rich humus that does not completely dry out in summer. If you choose carefully you can have Viburnums in flower from winter through to the end of summer. The flowers are often sweetly scented and are followed by very attractive ornamental berries. The deciduous varieties have excellent autumn leaf colour. Viburnums can be kept tidy by cutting back any straggly older shoots after flowering. You won't find this an arduous task and if you decide not to do it your Viburnum will still perform well for you.
Most are frost hardy with the exception of Viburnum odoratissimum "Emerald Lustre" which will only tolerate a light frost. If you do have a frost free area this is a wonderful plant to add a lush tropical look as it has large rounded glossy green foliage with a hint of bronze. Some Viburnums are prone to attack from Thrip in summer, especially Viburnum tinus varieties such as "Eve Price" and "Gwenllian" but this is easily controlled (see care instructions on Rhododendron page) and should not detract from their overall value.
Viburnums to consider:
Viburnum opulus sterile "Snowball Tree"
Gorgeous globular creamy white "Snowball" flower heads appear throughout spring. Just beautiful in full flower. Flowers look wonderful picked when in bud. Deciduous.
Viburnum x burkwoodii
This is one of my very favourite flowering shrubs. White flowers open from tight pink buds and, oh, the perfume. Plant to take advantage of the scent. Good autumn colour. Deciduous.
Viburnum tinus Eve Price
Nice compact evergreen shrub which flowers from winter through to spring. The buds are deep carmine pink and open to clusters of blush white flowers. The flowers are followed by blue-black berries which hold well on the plant. The mid green foliage is lush and extremely tolerant of harsh weather conditions, even strong winds. Trims well and can be used as a hedge.
A beautiful dwarf form of this worthy flowering shrub. In late spring snowy clusters of white blooms decorate the ends of the branches. Attractive serrated fresh green foliage that turns deep burgundy prior to leaf fall. Neat and tidy habit. Plant in sun or part shade. Deciduous.
Colour: White Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 100cm x 120cm
The main feature of this deciduous shrub is the large globular, white, 'snowball' flower-heads that appear in spring. Forms an open, graceful shrub with green leaves that have good autumn colour. Easy to grow and a firm favourite for good reason.
Colour: White / Green Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 2m
'Pink Beauty' is a spreading medium-sized deciduous shrub with ovate, attractively veined leaves turning purplish in autumn, and flat, lacecap heads of creamy-white flowers ageing to pink, sometimes followed by red, later black, berries. Deciduous
Colour: White / Pink Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 2.5m
A beautiful shrub with green leaves tinged with bronze in autumn that lay in tiers along the branches. The white flowers turn to pink in autumn and spring and smother the bush in beautiful bloom. Plant in sun or part shade. Deciduous.
Colour: Pink / White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 2m x 2m
Viburnum plicatum Roseace
Current Stock Height: 50/70 cm ?
Container: pb18 ?
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This delightful deciduous shrub has interesting textured leaves and an abundance of pretty white flower clusters throughout the summer that are followed by red berries. Hardy and tolerant of most conditions but prefers afternoon shade.
If you wish to prune your 'Summer Snowflake' it is best done after flowering though this may reduce the amount of berries. Lovely background shrub and fabulous in a group of 3 or more.
Colour: White / Cream Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 1.5m x 1.5m
It all starts in spring with creamy white flower heads. These are followed by bright red berries that hold well into winter after leaf fall. The fresh green leaves are attractively lobed and colour exceptionally well in autumn. All together an excellent, highly ornamental shrub. Deciduous.
Colour: Cream / White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 3m x 2.5m