Viburnums are beautiful shrubs that can add aesthetic appeal to your garden, borders, and boundaries. But which variety do you choose? We’ll cover 5 common types of viburnum so that you can pick the right one for you.
1. Consider Korean spice viburnum
- Beginning in spring, the spicy sweet aroma of Korean spice viburnum (V. carlesii) beckons. Clusters of pink buds open to nearly white, eight centimetre (three inch) balls of fragrant flowers.
- Unlike most viburnums, this favourite prefers soil with a neutral pH, so you’ll need to add garden lime according to package directions when planting it in acidic soil.
- At 1.8 metres (6 feet) tall and wide, it’s an excellent deciduous viburnum for boundaries or screening, but look for the dwarf, one-metre-tall (three foot) ‘Compactum’ cultivar when using Korean spice viburnum in foundation groupings.
- ‘Cayuga’ has a multitude of pink buds that open to give fragrant white flowers. This variety is also much more resistant to fungal leaf spots and mildew than other species.
- Korean spice viburnum thrives best in Zone 5.
2. Try burkwood viburnum
- While not as fragrant as Korean spice viburnum, Burkwood viburnum (V. × burkwoodii) is a workhorse among fragrant shrubs and is easier to grow in poorly drained and acidic soils.
- It blooms in spring, with pink buds opening to white, and has glossy, semi-evergreen leaves with felted undersides.
- ‘Mohawk’ has clove-scented flowers followed by a good crop of red fruits that ripen to black.
- Burkwood viburnum is best suited to Zone 6.
3. Spice up the fall with linden viburnum
- If you’re willing to trade spring fragrance for fall colour, the linden viburnum (V. dilatatum) is an incredibly trouble-free shrub for Zone 5.
- Planted in any sunny, well-drained spot, it will mature into a 2.4-metre-tall (8 foot) mounded shrub with lovely white spring flowers followed by abundant black berries that persist into the winter.
- The fall foliage colour is usually a strong bronze red, which serves as a beautiful backdrop for the immature berries.
- ‘Erie’ displays bright red fruit that turns pink following frost, while ‘Catskill’ is smaller growing but wide spreading, with good fall colour and dark red fruits that last into winter.
- ‘Oneida’ is more upright, and noteworthy for its repeat blooming during the summer following the spring display. ‘Michael Dodge’ is a cultivar that’s literally covered with yellow fruits in fall.
4. Focus on foliage with leatherlead viburnum
- The oblong, semi-evergreen leaves of leatherleaf viburnum (V. rhytidophyllum) reach up to 18 centimetres (7 inches) long. Reaching 4.5 metres (15 feet) tall, this fast-growing plant blooms with small, fuzzy clusters of cream flowers in late spring and bears plentiful fruits that change from red to black.
- The leatherleaf viburnum looks like a dense rhododendron and is perfect for boundaries, screens, hedges ,and foundation plantings.
- This variety is hardy to Zone 5.
5. On the west coast? Try laurustinus viburnum
- Laurustinus viburnum (V. tinus) has glossy leaves, white flowers that open from pink buds, and egg-shaped metallic blue fruits that ripen to black.
- Hardy to Zone 7, this species makes an attractive informal hedge.
Use this guide to choose the species and cultivar that best suits the needs of your home, garden, and personal taste. As long as you select a plant that will thrive in your soil and climate though, you really can’t go wrong. All viburnums are beautiful!