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How to Grow & Care for Viburnum

Viburnum is an adaptable, simple-to-grow shrub that does well in a variety of conditions. Large or small, evergreen or deciduous, with winter, spring, or summer flowers, these popular shrubs provide interest throughout the seasons. They are prized for their flowers, fragrance, or fruits—or all three. Viburnums can be grown as deciduous, evergreen, large, medium, or small, and there are varieties to fit every garden.

Viburnum carlesii Aurora

Choosing a Viburnum

Viburnums thrive in full sunlight or partial shade. Many people can also live with chalky soils. Viburnums dislike soil that is too wet or too dry. They have a tendency to flower poorly in a lot of shade.

It can be difficult to choose from the numerous excellent viburnums available. Consider what you want from your plant to narrow down your choices.


While many viburnums bloom in the spring and summer, some are known for flowering in the winter and early in the spring. Typically, the flowers are small and arranged in groups. The flowerheads of some cultivars, which can be flat-topped or rounded like snowballs, are particularly eye-catching. with some having a strong smell.

Different flowering shapes of Viburnum
Different flowering shapes of Viburnum


In order to ensure cross-pollination, many viburnums will produce clusters of ornamental berry-like fruits in the autumn if you grow two or more of the same species. Red, pink, black, and blue are the colours available. In the winter, these are an important source of food for birds.

Hedges or ground cover

Viburnum ‘Davidii’ is ideal as dense ground cover at 90 centimetres tall, while evergreens like viburnum ‘Eve Price’ make excellent dense, flowering hedges. Before you buy a plant, make sure you have enough room for its established size by reading the labels and descriptions.

Planting Viburnum

If the ground isn’t very wet or frozen, deciduous viburnums that lose their leaves over the winter should be planted in autumn or early spring. They have ample time to adjust before the hot, dry weather. Planting evergreens in the early spring or autumn is best because they keep their leaves throughout the year. Viburnums can also be planted at other times, but they may struggle to establish during hot, dry spells.

The majority favour sunny, open spaces. However, some species thrive in more shade. Before purchasing a variety, it is best to verify its preferred planting position to ensure its success.

How to Plant Viburnum

Although planting a shrub is quick and simple, it is important to do so carefully to ensure its successful establishment and longevity. Dig a hole big enough so the shrub’s base is level with the ground, then carefully remove the shrub from its nursery container and put it in the hole. Backfill the hole with the removed soil and compact it. The shrub should be lightly watered to keep the soil moist.

Ongoing Care

For the first year or two, viburnums planted recently should be watered frequently, especially during dry times. Even after they have become established, shallow-rooted viburnums, particularly many species that bloom in the summer, may require watering in the summer if the soil becomes dry.

In most garden soils, these shrubs may require little or no feeding. However, you can feed them annually in the early spring to encourage robust new growth. Simply apply a general fertiliser to the plant at the rate indicated on the container. After that, apply a mulch or compost layer that is 5 cm thick, leaving a circle around the plant’s base without mulch or compost.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I prune viburnums?

Many may require little to not pruning, although they can be pruned if they have outgrown their space. It is best to only prune annually to keep them well shaped and flowering strongly.

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Updated on April 12, 2023

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