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Care of Snowball Bush

Snowball bush, also known as Viburnum opulus, is an ornamental flowering shrub that produces large clusters of white flowers resembling snowballs, hence the plant's common name. Hardy in Zones 3 through 8, snowball bushes thrive in most areas of the United States. Gardeners value the shrub for its attractive foliage, showy blossoms and ease of care. The plant's leaves turn yellow to purplish-red in fall, which adds interest to the autumn and winter garden. The snowball bush reaches up to 10 feet in height with an equal spread when given proper care, making it ideal for hedges, borders and foundation plantings.

Plant the snowball bush. Spring is the best time of year to plant snowball bushes, just after the final frost of the year. Choose a planting site that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day and consists of moist, fertile, well-drained soil. Space the snowball bush 8 to 10 feet apart to allow plenty of room for growth.

Water the snowball bush. Maintain a schedule of watering the bush every 10 days during the spring, summer and fall to keep the soil from completely drying. Decrease watering frequency to once every two weeks during winter. Do not permit standing water to accumulate, or root rot will occur.

Feed the snowball bush a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer. To promote foliage, flower and root formation, feed your snowball bush once every two months in all seasons but winter. Apply at the rate recommended by the product manufacturer for the best results.

Prune the bush. Once each year during late winter, just before new growth begins in spring, prune your snowball bush. Use pruning shears to trim away leggy, diseased and damaged limbs to increase the aesthetic appeal and health of the snowball bush.

Pinch off dead or spent snowball bush flowers. To prolong the bush's blooming season, pinch off dead flowers whenever possible. Sever the old flowers where they meet the stem to minimize shock, and new blossoms will replace them soon afterward.


Grow the snowball bush in partial shade, if desired, although it will not bloom as profusely.


Burn diseased limbs in a remote location to prevent spreading illness to other nearby plants.

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