Create Your Garden

10 Creative Ways to Incorporate Viburnum in Your Garden

Using viburnum in the landscape is a fantastic way to add versatility, interest, and beauty to your garden

Viburnum Opulus, Snowball Viburnum

Viburnums are a diverse group of flowering shrubs belonging to the Adoxaceae family. With over 150 species, they offer a wide range of sizes, shapes, and foliage types. Originating from various parts of the world, including North America, Asia, and Europe, viburnums have made their way into gardens globally for their versatile use in landscaping. These hardy plants are prized for their ornamental features, which include attractive, often fragrant flowers, colorful berries, and lush foliage.

Using viburnum in the landscape is a fantastic way to add versatility, interest, and beauty to your garden. Depending on the species or cultivar, viburnums can be used as hedges, focal points, background plantings, or even as ground cover. Here are some examples of how to use them in the landscape:

Viburnums As Hedges

Using viburnum as hedges offers multiple benefits beyond the primary purpose of creating a physical boundary. These versatile shrubs provide year-round interest, with features ranging from fragrant flowers and lush foliage to colorful berries and vibrant autumn colors. Their dense growth habit makes them excellent for privacy and noise reduction.

Viburnum tinus (Laurustinus) – This evergreen shrub is a popular choice for hedges due to its dense growth habit and year-round interest. It features small, white to pink flowers in late winter and blue-black berries in the fall.

Viburnum odoratissimum (Sweet Viburnum) – This evergreen species is prized for its large, shiny leaves, extremely fragrant flowers, and bird-attracting berries. It can grow quite tall and wide, making it ideal for a tall, privacy-providing hedge.

Viburnum x pragense (Prague Viburnum) – It makes an excellent hedge due to its dense, evergreen foliage. It offers year-round privacy and is relatively low maintenance. Its winter-blooming, fragrant white flowers add seasonal interest.

Guide Information

Hardiness 2 - 10
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Adoxaceae
Genus Viburnum
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 2' - 30'
(60cm - 9.1m)
Spread 2' - 12'
(60cm - 3.7m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fragrant, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Wall-Side Borders, Hedges And Screens, Beds And Borders
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
Viburnum odoratissimum (Sweet Viburnum)
Viburnum tinus (Laurustinus)
Viburnum ‘Pragense’ (Prague Viburnum)

Viburnums as Focal Points

Viburnums make excellent focal points in gardens due to their multi-seasonal interest and aesthetic versatility. Many species feature show-stopping, fragrant blooms in spring or summer, often followed by vibrant berries that attract wildlife. The foliage itself ranges from glossy greens to deep purples, offering color and texture contrasts to other plants. In fall, their leaves often turn striking shades of red, orange, or purple, drawing the eye and providing a spectacular seasonal display. Whether as a centerpiece or a stunning solitary specimen, a viburnum can effortlessly become the star of any outdoor space.

Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’ (Doublefile Viburnum): Prized for its horizontal branches and white lacecap flowers, this deciduous shrub is a stunning focal point in any garden, offering multi-seasonal interest, including red berries and vibrant fall color.

Viburnum carlesii (Koreanspice Viburnum): With fragrant, pinkish-white blooms in the spring and fiery fall foliage, this rounded shrub serves as an aromatic focal point, especially effective near walkways or patios where its scent can be enjoyed.

Viburnum macrocephalum (Chinese Snowball Viburnum): Sporting huge, snowball-like flower clusters in spring, this large, eye-catching shrub can anchor a garden bed or stand alone as a show-stopping focal point, especially in a larger landscape.

Viburnum plicatum ‘Mariesii’ (Doublefile Viburnum)
Viburnum carlesii (Koreanspice Viburnum)
Viburnum macrocephalum (Chinese Snowball Viburnum)

Viburnums as Background Plantings

Viburnums excel as background plantings for several compelling reasons. Their lush, dense foliage creates a vivid green backdrop that allows other plants to shine. Whether your garden features ornamental grasses, flowering perennials, or smaller shrubs, a viburnum hedge or cluster can help unify the design and add depth to your landscape. Their height and spread can create a living wall that not only enhances privacy but also provides shelter for smaller plants and wildlife. This multi-faceted contribution makes them an ideal choice for background plantings.

Viburnum x rhytidophylloides (Leatherleaf Viburnum): This evergreen hybrid, with its leathery leaves and clusters of creamy-white flowers, serves well as a lush, year-round backdrop for other plantings, providing both texture and continuity in the garden.

Viburnum dentatum (Arrowwood Viburnum): With its white flower clusters and blue-black berries, this native deciduous shrub makes a charming background planting, especially in native and woodland gardens, where its foliage can provide a contrast to other plant forms.

Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ (European Cranberrybush): Prized for its large, sterile blooms resembling snowballs, this deciduous shrub creates a dramatic backdrop in borders, its showy blossoms giving way to vibrant autumn leaves, enhancing the overall garden composition.

Viburnum dentatum (Arrowwood Viburnum)
Viburnum rhytidophyllum (Leatherleaf Viburnum)
Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ (European Cranberrybush)

Viburnums as Ground Covers

Viburnum species that are low-growing and spreading can serve as exceptional ground cover for various reasons. These plants are adept at filling in bare spots in the landscape, providing a lush, green carpet that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Their root systems help stabilize soil, reducing erosion on slopes or in areas with poor soil structure. Additionally, the dense foliage can suppress weeds, reducing the need for frequent maintenance. Some varieties offer multi-season interest with fragrant blooms, eye-catching berries, and vibrant fall colors.

Viburnum davidii – This evergreen species has a low, spreading habit, making it an ideal ground cover. Its leathery leaves offer year-round interest, and the small clusters of white flowers followed by turquoise blue berries add to its appeal.

Viburnum cassinoides ‘Lil’ Ditty’: This is a small but impactful addition to any garden, offering multi-seasonal interest, low maintenance, and a host of ecological benefits. Its small size makes it versatile, and it’s particularly useful in small landscapes where space is at a premium.

Viburnum opulus ‘Nanum’: A dwarf variety suitable for ground cover.

Viburnum cassinoides Lil’ Ditty® (Witherod Viburnum)
Viburnum davidii (David Viburnum)
Viburnum opulus ‘Nanum’ (European Cranberrybush)

Viburnums for Winter Interest

Using viburnum for winter interest is a savvy landscaping choice that can elevate your garden from a barren winter landscape to a scene of beauty and interest. Many species and cultivars boast features like persistent berries that provide pops of color against a snowy backdrop or intricate branching patterns that are revealed once the leaves have fallen. Some even have evergreen or semi-evergreen foliage that retains its vibrant color throughout the colder months.

Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ – This deciduous hybrid is known for its intensely fragrant, pinkish-white flowers that bloom from late fall into the winter, providing much-needed color and scent during the colder months. The bare, arching branches laden with flowers create an attractive winter display.

Viburnum farreri (Fragrant Viburnum): It adds winter interest with its late autumn to winter blooms. The pinkish-white, fragrant flowers defy the cold, and the plant’s upright habit can be a focal point in a dormant winter garden.

Viburnum setigerum (Tea Viburnum) – This deciduous shrub boasts a profusion of brightly colored berries that remain on the plant after the leaves have dropped, providing excellent winter interest. The berries are particularly attractive against a snowy backdrop.

Viburnum × bodnantense ‘Dawn’ (Bodnant Viburnum)
Viburnum farreri (Farrer Viburnum)
Viburnum setigerum (Tea Viburnum)

Viburnums to Attract Birds

Many species produce berries that are a nutritious food source for various bird species, providing them with the essential energy and nutrients needed for survival, especially in winter. Planting viburnums in your garden to attract birds serves multiple purposes. Not only does this support local wildlife, but it also adds an element of liveliness and beauty to your garden as you get to observe different birds visiting. Some also offer dense foliage that can serve as nesting sites or protective cover for birds, offering them a sanctuary from predators.

Viburnum nudum (Possumhaw) offers brilliant fall foliage and blue-black berries, attracting a host of birds. Its multi-season interest makes it a favorite in bird-friendly gardens.

Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw Viburnum) is excellent for attracting birds, featuring edible berries and lush foliage. Its fruits turn from red to black, providing a food source for various bird species.

Viburnum trilobum (High Bush Cranberry) – This deciduous shrub produces bright red berries that not only add visual appeal but also serve as a valuable food source for birds during the colder months. It attracts a variety of birds, such as finches and cedar waxwings.

Viburnum opulus var. americanum (American Cranberrybush)
Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw)
Viburnum nudum (Withe Rod)

Viburnums Near Water Features

Using viburnums near water features adds an extra layer of beauty and complexity to your landscape. The reflective quality of water can magnify the plant’s foliage and blooms, creating a tranquil and eye-catching scene. Many viburnums also thrive in moist soil conditions, making them well-suited for planting near water elements. Additionally, the sound of trickling or flowing water combined with the aromatic fragrance of some species can provide a multi-sensory garden experience.

Viburnum cassinoides (Witherod Viburnum) tolerates wet soils and thrives near water features, offering both ornamental and ecological benefits. Its berries and seasonal color changes provide a striking backdrop to ponds or streams.

Viburnum dentatum Blue Muffin (Arrowwood Viburnum) is well-suited for areas near water features. Its tolerance for wet soil makes it an excellent choice for pond edges, and its berries and foliage offer seasonal interest.

Viburnum obovatum (Walter’s Viburnum) is ideal for waterside settings, able to handle moist conditions while providing beautiful flowers and berries that attract wildlife, enhancing the naturalistic appeal of your water feature.

Viburnum cassinoides (Witherod Viburnum)
Viburnum obovatum (Walter’s Viburnum)
Viburnum dentatum Blue Muffin® (Arrowwood Viburnum)

Viburnums as Windbreaks

Viburnums make excellent windbreaks due to their dense branching structure and robust foliage. By planting a row of viburnums as a barrier, you can effectively reduce wind speed, thereby creating a more pleasant and protected outdoor environment. Some species grow tall and wide, providing a substantial shield against harsh winds. Additionally, they are generally hardy and can withstand a variety of soil conditions, making them a reliable choice for windbreaks.

Viburnum odoratissimum (Sweet Viburnum) – serves as an effective windbreak due to its dense foliage and sturdy growth habit. Reaching heights of up to 20 feet, it’s an ideal choice for creating a natural barrier against strong winds.

Viburnum rhytidophyllum (Leatherleaf Viburnum) – Prized for its tough, leathery leaves, this evergreen shrub is an excellent choice for windbreaks. It has a dense growth habit and can grow up to 10-15 feet tall, making it effective at blocking wind and providing privacy.

Viburnum x pragense (Prague Viburnum) – This evergreen hybrid is both fast-growing and frost-resistant, making it ideal for a windbreak. It can grow up to 10 feet tall and has a dense, compact form that offers excellent wind protection.

Viburnum odoratissimum (Sweet Viburnum)
Viburnum ‘Pragense’ (Prague Viburnum)
Viburnum rhytidophyllum (Leatherleaf Viburnum)

Viburnums Under Trees

Planting viburnum under trees can be an excellent way to fill in the often-empty space beneath a tree canopy. Viburnums are generally tolerant of partial shade, making them well-suited for these lower-light conditions. Their varying heights and spreads offer flexibility in creating a layered, naturalistic look.

Viburnum acerifolium (Mapleleaf Viburnum) – This species is native to Eastern North America and is well-suited for the dappled light conditions under trees. It’s a deciduous shrub with dark green leaves that turn vibrant colors in the fall.

Viburnum dentatum (Arrowwood Viburnum): This adaptable shrub thrives in the understory, tolerating partial shade well. Its attractive foliage and berries offer both visual interest and a food source for birds, making it an excellent choice under trees.

Viburnum rufidulum (Southern Blackhaw): Suited for shaded areas, this species boasts attractive white blossoms and edible berries. Its ability to thrive in lower light conditions makes it ideal for planting under mature trees.

Viburnum acerifolium (Mapleleaf Viburnum)
Viburnum rufidulum (Southern Blackhaw)
Viburnum dentatum (Arrowwood Viburnum)

Viburnums for Container Planting

Viburnums are versatile and compact enough for container plantings, making them an excellent choice for patio, balcony, or small-space gardening. Their lush foliage and attractive flowers bring natural beauty to confined spaces. Additionally, potted viburnums can be moved to optimal locations to catch the sunlight or to be showcased during the blooming season. Overall, they offer a low-maintenance and high-reward option for container gardening.

Viburnum ‘Eskimo’: A slow-growing, compact variety well-suited for containers. Its dense, evergreen foliage and fragrant, snowball-like blooms add year-round interest to patios and small outdoor spaces.

Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum‘: Ideal for pots and small gardens, this compact version of the Korean Spice Viburnum offers the same fragrant blooms and autumnal color but in a more manageable size, perfect for container cultivation.

Viburnum tinus ‘Spring Bouquet’ (Laurustinus) – This compact variety features pink buds that open into small, fragrant, white flowers in late winter to early spring.

Viburnum ‘Eskimo’
Viburnum tinus ‘Spring Bouquet’ (Laurustinus)
Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’ (Koreanspice Viburnum)
Compare All Viburnum
Compare Now
Guides with
Viburnum
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 2 - 10
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Adoxaceae
Genus Viburnum
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 2' - 30'
(60cm - 9.1m)
Spread 2' - 12'
(60cm - 3.7m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Fragrant, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Deer
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Wall-Side Borders, Hedges And Screens, Beds And Borders
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
Compare All Viburnum
Compare Now
Guides with
Viburnum

Related Items

Please Login to Proceed

You Have Reached The Free Limit, Please Subscribe to Proceed

Subscribe to Gardenia

To create additional collections, you must be a paid member of Gardenia
  • Add as many plants as you wish
  • Create and save up to 25 garden collections
Become a Member

Plant Added Successfully

You have Reached Your Limit

To add more plants, you must be a paid member of our site Become a Member

Update Your Credit
Card Information

Cancel

Create a New Collection

Sign Up to Our Newsletter

    You have been subscribed successfully

    Join Gardenia.net

    Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

    Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

    Join now and start creating your dream garden!

    Join Gardenia.net

    Create a membership account to save your garden designs and to view them on any device.

    Becoming a contributing member of Gardenia is easy and can be done in just a few minutes. If you provide us with your name, email address and the payment of a modest $25 annual membership fee, you will become a full member, enabling you to design and save up to 25 of your garden design ideas.

    Join now and start creating your dream garden!

    Find your Hardiness Zone

    Find your Heat Zone

    Find your Climate Zone