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Why You Should Avoid Growing Invasive Viburnums

While Viburnums are undoubtedly beautiful and versatile plants, it's essential to choose species that are native to your area to avoid the detrimental impacts of invasive species.

Viburnum Plicatum, Doublefile 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.

Why Gardeners Love Planting Viburnums in Their Gardens

Gardeners adore viburnums for their versatility, aesthetic appeal, and low-maintenance nature. One of the most attractive features is their multifaceted seasonal interest. These shrubs boast fragrant blooms in the spring, lush foliage in the summer, and vibrant berries and leaf color in the fall. In some species, the leaves remain evergreen, providing year-round beauty. This ability to offer something beautiful every season makes viburnums a favorite among gardeners looking for a long-lasting presence in their landscapes.

Viburnum shrubs are also remarkably adaptable to a variety of soil types, light conditions, and climates, making it easy to find a species that will thrive in almost any garden setting. Many varieties are tolerant of common garden challenges like deer and pests. Beyond their visual appeal, viburnums are great for wildlife gardens, offering both nectar for pollinators and berries for birds. This blend of beauty, resilience, and ecological benefits makes viburnums a go-to choice for both novice and experienced gardeners.

Viburnum can serve multiple purposes in a garden— from acting as a focal point to providing a backdrop for other plants or forming a privacy screen.

Viburnum Opulus, Snowball ViburnumViburnum Opulus (Snowball Viburnum)

The Undesirable Consequences of Growing Invasive Viburnums

Growing invasive Viburnum species in the U.S. can negatively impact local ecosystems. These non-native species often outcompete native plants for resources, reducing biodiversity and disrupting the natural balance of the environment. They can spread aggressively, leading to monocultures that degrade habitat quality for wildlife. The effects often ripple through the ecosystem, affecting not only plant life but also the animals and insects that depend on native plants for food and shelter.

Not many gardeners are aware that certain viburnum species have become invasive in some regions and should be steered clear of. Among them are:

The impact of invasive Viburnums goes beyond the ecological. These species can also be problematic for homeowners and land managers, as they often require more intensive management to keep them in check. They can invade gardens, fields, and natural areas, sometimes necessitating costly and labor-intensive removal efforts.

Given these impacts, it’s crucial to consider non-invasive alternatives when choosing Viburnums for your garden or landscape. Native species like Viburnum dentatum (Arrowwood Viburnum), Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw Viburnum), or Viburnum acerifolium (Maple-leaf Viburnum) are excellent choices. These species are adapted to local conditions, making them easier to grow and more resistant to pests and diseases. They also provide vital habitat and food resources for native wildlife.

Another alternative is Viburnum lentago (Nannyberry), which offers similar aesthetic and functional benefits as its invasive counterparts, without the ecological downsides. These native alternatives come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making it easy to find one that fits your specific landscaping needs.

Guide Information

Hardiness 2 - 10
Plant Type Shrubs
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 Hedges And Screens, Wall-Side Borders, Beds And Borders
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow

U.S. Native Viburnums

In summary, while Viburnums are undoubtedly beautiful and versatile plants, it’s essential to choose species native to your area to avoid the detrimental impacts of invasive species. By doing so, you’ll contribute to a more balanced and sustainable local ecosystem while still enjoying all the benefits that Viburnums have to offer.

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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
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 Hedges And Screens, Wall-Side Borders, Beds And Borders
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Coastal Garden, Informal and Cottage, Prairie and Meadow
Compare All Viburnum
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Guides with
Viburnum

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