Flowering Snowball Shrub


Snowball viburnum (Viburnum opulus 'Roseum') is an old garden plant with springtime appeal. This old plant was a mainstay of the American colonial nursery since it could handle cold winters. Grown today for its white flowers, snowball viburnum is a hardy grower once established, though it may develop powdery mildew or black spot if not cared for.


Known primarily for its white bushy flowers, snowball viburnum can occasionally produce pink blooms. While other viburnum shrubs develop tiny fruit clusters, the white blossoms on snowball viburnum do not produce fruit. The viburnum flowers in spring and has completed its display by summer. The flower clusters can contain up to 100 flowers and are 3 inches in diameter.


The snowball viburnum's leaves nearly resemble the classic three-lobed maple leaf. The leaves are matte rather than glossy and spring green in color, averaging 3 to 4 inches in size. Snowball viburnum leaves do not turn colors in fall, while other viburnum plants do display autumn colors.


Snowball viburnum can reach up to 12 feet in height and 12 feet in width. Gardeners can keep the plant smaller with pruning.


Native to Europe, snowball viburnum has been grown in the United States since the colonial era. According to the University of Arkansas, the sterile snowball form of viburnum is thought to have originated in Holland well before the 16th century. Called "Gelder Rose," the plant didn't contain the word "snowball" in its name until at least 1760.


Gardeners can plant snowball viburnum in hardiness zones 3 to 8, which covers most of North America. The shrub grows in part sun to full sun.

Keywords: flowering bushes, snowball shrub, viburnum

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Based in Northern California, Elton Dunn is a freelance writer and nonprofit consultant with 14 years' experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, education and the legal fields. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English.