Viburnum are among the most popular of landscape plants. They can range from small shrubs to large trees and have beautiful flowers, impressive fruit and dense, attractive foliage that often changes with the seasons. They can be used for hedges, in perennial borders, or as a centerpiece in the garden. Viburnum are relatively carefree and can be easily pruned to shape the plant.
The foliage is made up of large, green lobe-shaped leaves and can vary from smooth to highly textured. Many varieties change colors during cooler months. The flowers are large clusters of white florets that can be flat-headed of snowball-shaped that are showy and fragrant. The flowers are a favorite of butterflies and bees. The brightly-colored berries serve as food for birds in the fall.
The plant grows at a medium rate, averaging about 13 to 24 inches per year. Viburnum will grow well from hardiness zones 3 through 8. Some varieties are very tree-like, while others more resemble shrubs.
The form is irregular. Depending on the type of Viburnum, the plants can range from 2 feet by 2 feet, to up to greater than 15 feet tall. The plants can also spread up to 15 feet, for larger varieties.
The plant prefers partial shade to full sun. Viburnum do well in a variety of soils including those that are alkaline, or acidic. The plant can tolerate rich, sandy, clay and silty soils. Whatever the type of soil, it should be well-drained.
Smaller varieties of Viburnum include the Dwarf American Cranberry Bush, which reaches only 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide; and Compact Korean Spice, which gets about 5 feet tall, with a rounded form.
Medium forms of the plant include Burkwood, which reaches 6 feet tall with snowball flowers; Linden, which can get to 9 feet and has flat clusters of florets and excellent fruiting; and Judd, with a semi-snowball flower and 8-foot height.
Larger varieties include the Arrowwood, which can reach 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide; Wayfaring Tree, which can get up to 15 feet high with creamy-white flowers; and the Nannyberry, a native species that reach up to 30 feet high.