The venerable Viburnums

It’s now officially April, and the weather is finally starting to feel like it too for many of us across the Mid-Atlantic and southeast. My forsythia is in full bloom as are the early flowering cherries and magnolias. But one shrub I most look forward to is the Viburnum…a large and diverse group of deciduous and evergreen flowering shrubs and various shapes and sizes. Viburnums can be used just about anywhere…they tolerate a wide range of soils, are heat and drought tolerant, tolerate full sun, part shade, and various hardiness zones. They are usually among the first shrubs to bloom, anywhere from mid April through early May. Many species are quite fragrant and even just one plant will perfume your garden for several weeks. Once the blooms fade, Viburnums will settle into the background while other plants start their show, until fall when bright red, black, or blue berries emerge in large clusters and attract all manner of birds and wildlife. Below are some of my favorite Viburnums.

Viburnum carlesii Korean Spice Viburnum (3)

Korean Spice Viburnum (V. Carlesii) – highly fragrant waxy white/pink snowball flowers; orange red fall color in full sun


Arrowwood Viburnum (V. Dentatum) (cultivar “Blue Muffin” pictured above) – glossy green toothed leaves, semi-flat clusters of white flowers give way to blue/black berries in fall; native to the southeast U.S. Highly attractive to birds


Doublefile Viburnum (V. plicatum var. tomentosum) – bright white flowers smother the horizontally layered branches and give way to bright red berries in fall; foliage turns a nice burgundy color in autumn.

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