Viburnum are versatile native plants that provide interest in the landscape from spring through the fall. The fruits they produce are favored by cardinals, bluebirds, cedar waxwings, grosbeaks, and robins. Many birds also use the shrub itself for nesting and protection. Some moths and the Spring Azure Butterfly use the foliage of Arrowwood viburnum as larval food.
Whether you need a small shrub or a large one, you can find a viburnum to fill the space. They prefer a slightly acidic soil and full sun, but will tolerate most soils (avoid salt situations) and will adapt to some shade as well. Once you get these plants established they are also somewhat drought resistant. Pests and disease
For information on planting viburnum, see the Dundee Fact Sheet “Planting Potted Stock.”
Viburnum don’t need lots of pruning to stay looking nice. If you do want to prune, do it in the spring, after the plant has flowered because the plants flower on old wood.
Viburnum HBC Dwarf - Dwarf European Cranberry Bush (Viburnum opulus ‘Nanum’)
This small shrub will only grow 2-3’ tall and 2-4’ wide. It’s an excellent selection to use as a short hedge. It tolerates pruning so maintaining the mounded form of this compact plant will be easy. Also useful as a foundation plant or filler. Prefers moist soil, but avoid wet soils that do not drain well, as this can kill the plant. This plant sporadically produces some white flowers and red fruit, but it is not the producer other varieties are known to be. Fall color is green to reddish purple. The foliage is much denser than on some other Viburnum.
American Cranberry Compact Viburnum - (Viburnum trilobum compacta)
This medium shrub will grow 5-6’ tall and wide. It’s a dense, slow-growing, upright-rounded shrub. Would make a nice hedge plant. Produces scattered white flowers followed by red fruits. Foliage may have a red tinge to it before it opens. Beautiful red fall foliage color. Slender stems. It prefers a moist, well-drained soil, but it is resilient and care free in most soils and exposures. Avoid standing water and salt.
Arrowwood Blue Muffin Viburnum - (Viburnum dentatum ‘Christom’)
This cultivar of the Arrowwood Viburnum is shorter and more compact. A medium shrub, it will grow 5-7’ tall and 4-6’ wide. Blue Muffin flowers in the spring with clusters of white, flat-topped flowers. Vivid blue, pea-sized berries relished by song birds follow the flowers. The light green foliage really sets off the fruits. Fall foliage is burgundy-purple. Takes pruning well and would make an interesting specimen plant or low hedge.
Wayfaring Mohican Viburnum - (Viburnum lantana ‘Mohican’)
This cultivar was introduced by the United States National Arboretum. It will grow 6’ tall and 6-8’ wide. It is a nicely textured plant with dark green, leathery foliage. Creamy white blossoms in May are followed by orange-red fruits that ripen to black. Unlike other Viburnum lantana cultivars, Mohican has a compact habit. Makes a nice screen or hedge.
Emerald Triumph Viburnum - (Viburnum x ‘Emerald Triumph’)
This cultivar was introduced by the University of Minnesota. It will grow 6-8’ tall and wide. Emerald Triumph has dark green, glossy foliage that is quite dense which makes it an excellent hedge or screen plant. White flowers in late spring are followed by red fruits in summer that ripen to black by the fall. Fall color develops after a hard frost and will be bronze to dark red. Prefers well-drained, moist soils and full to partial shade. This one will adapt to a large variety of soil types.
Arrowwood Viburnum - (Viburnum dentatum)
This native plant will grow 10-12’ tall and wide. The slender stems of this plant were often used by Native Americans to make arrow shafts, thus the name. Even the arrows found with the body of “Otzi the Iceman”, the 5,200 year old mummy found in the Alps in 1991, was carrying arrows made with shafts of viburnum. It flowers in June with white blooms followed by blue-black berries. The berries are edible and are a wonderful food source for wildlife. Excellent red fall color.
Redwing Viburnum - (Viburnum trilobum ‘J.N. Select’)
Redwing has an excellent form. New growth foliage has a reddish tint. White flowers in May are followed by clusters of persistent bright red fruit. Fall foliage color is brilliant red. This variety is a true Viburnum trilobum and not a hybrid as are some other varieties. Mature height is 8-10’ and mature spread is 6-8’ which provides an attractive upright, rounded element in the landscape.
Nannyberry Viburnum - (Viburnum lentago)
This shrub will grow 20’ tall and 6-10’ wide. It’s has an upright, broad columnar form. Nannyberry prefers moist, well-drained soils of average fertility in full sun, but is adaptable to poor soils, compacted soils, soils of various pH, permanently moist soils, dry soils, moderate heat, drought, and pollution. Foliage is medium to dark green and shiny. In fall leaves will turn a mixture of green, red, purple, and yellow. Flowers appear in the spring as large, flat-topped inflorescences of creamy white. Fruits turn from light green to pale yellow to reddish pink. By autumn they are blue-black and a treat for the birds. Wonderful for naturalizing.
Red Feather Viburnum - (Viburnum dentatum 'J.N. Select')
Red Feather has maroon and green, two-toned new growth. It has the appearance of the feathers on an arrow. White flowers, 2-5” across, appear in early summer. Blue-black berries in fall as the foliage takes on reddish-purple coloring. Prefers a well-drained soil. Mature height is 8-10’ and the mature spread is 10-12.’ Great upright, rounded shape.
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