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Viburnum lentago (Nannyberry)

Nannyberry, Sheepberry, Sweet Viburnum

Viburnum Lentago, Nannyberry, Sheepberry, Sweet Viburnum, Fragrant Shrub, Shrub with fall color, fall color, shrub with berries
Viburnum Lentago, Nannyberry, Sheepberry, Sweet Viburnum, Fragrant Shrub, Shrub with fall color, fall color, shrub with berries

Viburnum lentago (Nannyberry) is a large, suckering, deciduous shrub or single- or multi-stemmed small tree noted for its eye-catching flower clusters, shiny foliage, fall color, and fruit display. In spring, masses of flat-topped creamy-white flower clusters, 4.5 in. wide (11 cm), emerge from large vase-shaped buds and are elegantly held above the foliage. Non-fragrant, they are loved by butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. The blooms give way to pendulous clusters of bluish-black berries with bright red stalks in fall. Showy when viewed up close or from a short distance, they often persist into winter and are quite attractive to birds and wildlife. Tasty, the fruits can be eaten fresh from the shrub or used to make jams and preserves. The handsome foliage of ovate, finely toothed, glossy dark green leaves turns attractive shades of yellow, red, and purple in fall. A very rewarding shrub that is not only good-looking but also durable and pest free.

  • Grows at a moderate rate, with an upright habit but becomes more open at maturity with its slender, arching branches. Up to 10-20 ft. tall (300-600 cm) and 6-12 ft. wide (180-360 cm). It may be grown as a small tree up to 30 ft. high (9 m). Remove root suckers to control their spread unless naturalization is desired.
  • A full sun or part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils. Adaptable to a wide range of soil textures, moisture levels, and soil pH. Nannyberry tolerates heat and drought and performs well in the urban landscape.
  • Perfect as a specimen plant or in shrub borders, striking hedges and screens, and foundation plantings. Great for naturalizing.
  • Attractive to birds and butterflies.
  • Low maintenance, this plant has no serious insect or disease problems. Sometimes it develops mildew in shady areas.
  • Prune as required immediately after flowering (flower buds form in summer for the following year).
  • Native to eastern North America.

Viburnum: How to Grow and Care with Success


Want to learn how to grow and care for Viburnum like a pro? Follow these simple steps and enjoy the beauty of these striking shrubs.

Requirements

Hardiness 2 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Adoxaceae
Genus Viburnum
Common names Nannyberry, Sweet Viburnum, Viburnum
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 10' - 20'
(3m - 6.1m)
Spread 6' - 12'
(180cm - 3.7m)
Spacing 72" - 144"
(180cm - 3.7m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Delaware, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Northeast, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Southeast, South Dakota, Ohio, Illinois, Nebraska, Indiana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Traditional Garden
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Viburnum opulus ‘Nanum’ (European Cranberrybush)
Viburnum odoratissimum (Sweet Viburnum)
Viburnum farreri (Farrer Viburnum)
Viburnum setigerum (Tea Viburnum)
Viburnum ‘Pragense’ (Prague Viburnum)
Viburnum macrocephalum (Chinese Snowball Viburnum)

Recommended Companion Plants

Phlox stolonifera (Creeping Phlox)
Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel)
Callicarpa americana (American Beautyberry)
Hamamelis virginiana (Virginian Witch Hazel)
Aronia melanocarpa (Black Chokeberry)
Hydrangea arborescens (Smooth Hydrangea)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

Small Trees and Shrubs That Attract Birds
Pure White Flowers for a Touch of Elegance in Your Garden
Choosing Your Ideal Hedge: A Guide to Top Shrubs for Any Garden
Add a Splash of Color: Perfect Flowering Shrubs for Small Gardens
35 Flowering Shrubs That Thrive in Full Sun
40 Beautiful Native Shrubs for Shade
Viburnum – What Is Wrong With My Shrub?
Viburnum – Pests and Diseases to Watch Out For
Viburnum: How to Grow and Care with Success
10 Creative Ways to Incorporate Viburnum in Your Garden
Why You Should Avoid Growing Invasive Viburnums
Native Viburnums: Ideal Shrubs for Your Garden
Viburnum
Create a Garden with Great Winter Interest
Shrubs and Trees with Colorful Fruits and Berries in Winter
Native Plant Alternatives to Viburnum opulus (European Cranberrybush)
Native Plant Alternatives to Viburnum plicatum (Japanese Snowball)
Native Plant Alternatives to Viburnum dilatatum (Linden 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.
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Requirements

Hardiness 2 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 9
Climate Zones 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Plant Family Adoxaceae
Genus Viburnum
Common names Nannyberry, Sweet Viburnum, Viburnum
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 10' - 20'
(3m - 6.1m)
Spread 6' - 12'
(180cm - 3.7m)
Spacing 72" - 144"
(180cm - 3.7m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy
Native Plants United States, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Delaware, Connecticut, Vermont, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Northeast, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Southeast, South Dakota, Ohio, Illinois, Nebraska, Indiana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana
Tolerance Drought
Attracts Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Beds And Borders, Hedges And Screens
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage, Traditional Garden
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
Guides with
Viburnum
Not sure which Viburnum to pick?
Compare Now

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