What Is a Snowball Bush?


The European snowball bush, Viburnum opulus "Roseum," has clusters of white flower balls that get pink as they fade. This plant is easily confused with the Hydrangea Arborescens "Annabelle" because it looks similar and shares the same nickname, snowball. In the fall, the "Roseum" leaves turn red. Its flower clusters bloom in late spring to early summer. Unlike other types of Viburnums, it does not offer fruit or berries.


Research Viburnums and you'll discover this bush is eager to please; it's available in a range of colors, with or without berries, in varying sizes and in each gardening zone. For example, the Viburnum davidii offers light blue fruit in the early fall, zones 8 to 9. The Viburnum rhytidophylloides "Allegheny" grows in zones 4 to 8, with yellowing flowers blossoming in late spring with red fruit. Viburnum tinus "Laurustinus" makes a great hedge with bluish-black berries against its green, shiny leaves (growing in zones 7 to 10).


The European snowball bush grows 12 feet tall and spreads out 12 feet wide. In the same family, the Viburnum trilobum high bush-cranberry grows 12 feet high and spreads out to 10 feet. "Laurustinus" grows 10 feet high and spreads 8 to 10 feet tall. In comparison, Viburnum sieboldii (zones 4 to 7) grows 30 feet tall and stretches out to 15 feet wide. A smaller choice might be the Viburnum carlesii "Koreanspice," which grows only 5 feet in height and width. According to Reader's Digest, it is a parent of improved hybrids.


"Roseum" does best in acidic or alkaline, moist soil.


Every few years, clip old wood near the base of your deciduous plants. Reader's Digest suggests that this helps Viburnums because they grow quickly.


Snowball viburnum aphids is a popular disease that affects the snowball bush. It occurs in the springtime before flowers blossom. The leaves are attacked and end up curled and twisted. To combat this issue, use insecticidal soap as the leaves unfurl. Thrips disease deforms leaves and gives them a silvery appearance. Make sure your plant is well watered because this problem occurs during dry weather, beginning in the summer to fall.

Keywords: snowball bush, white flowering bush, perennial shrub

About this Author

Michelle Bermas has been a freelance writer since 1994. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the "Boston Globe Sunday Magazine," "2008 Writer's Market," "The Social Cause Diet" anthology, "South Shore Living Magazine," "Hudson Valley Life," "The Boston Globe," "The Patriot Ledger Newspaper" and more. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Pace University, New York.