Viburnums in the Landscape

The viburnums are one of the most outstanding group of shrubs for use in the landscape planting. Among their characteristics are variation in size from 2 to 30 feet, varied growth habits, excellent foliage, striking and fragrant flowers, showy fruit and interesting winter appearance.

In the landscape, viburnums are effective in many situations. The smaller forms are excellent for planting close to houses, and the larger forms provide good specimen and screen planting. The flowers, primarily white in color, are borne in clusters, ranging from a rounded snowball shape to a flat form.

In the fall there is a second season of ornamental value. Of the red fruiting types, V. dilatatum, V. opulus and V. trilobum are among the best. Others like V. dentatum and V. lentago have blue fruits attractive to the birds but not as colorful as the red. V. lantana and V. prunifolium are examples of those with changing fruit color as they ripen from green through pink or yellow to blue-black. Foliage is excellent. Included are types with a velvety smooth leaf surface, bold rough-veined texture and glossy leathery character. In addition, some forms have attractive fall color.

In addition to the aesthetic features, viburnums are hardy, resistant to serious pests, adaptable to a variety of soil and environmental conditions and require little pruning. They will grow in either sun or shade; however, flowering and fruiting will be more profuse in a sunny situation.

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