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Wide shot of white viburnum flowers
Viburnums are a group of plants that include some great quick growing hedging and screening plants and also some with incredibly showy flowers.

What you need to know about viburnum

Name: viburnum, sweet viburnum, snowball bush, Viburnum species and varieties.

Height: up to 5 metres.

Foliage: green; evergreen or deciduous depending on species.

Climate: cold temperate, warm temperate, arid/semi-arid, subtropical and tropical.

Soil: most soils.

Position: full sun.

Flowering: spring to summer.

Feeding: regular feeding with a complete garden fertiliser.

Watering: regular watering in drier times.

Appearance of viburnums

Generally speaking viburnums are dense, evergreen shrubs with glossy mid to dark green foliage. Flowers are white to pink and often highly scented. These are usually arranged in an umbrella shape, although on some varieties they occur in a complete ball. There are some viburnums that are deciduous and these ones are usually grown for their particularly showy flowers.

light pink viburnum flowers in a close up shot

Uses for viburnum

Two evergreen species are extremely popular hedging and screening plants. These are the sweet viburnum (Viburnum odoratissimum) and laurustinus (Viburnum tinus). The sweet viburnum is the faster growing of the two and suitable for warmer climates, while laurustinus will do better in cooler and colder areas. The snowball bush (Viburnum opulus ‘Sterile’) is grown for the large round white balls of flowers in spring. A less common viburnum is the hybrid Burkwood’s viburnum (Viburnum x burkwoodii), which is grown for its heavily perfumed flowers.

How to plant viburnums

Most viburnums are adaptable to a range of soils, but it always helps if you have dug in some compost before planting. Grow in full sun or light shade.

When to plant viburnums

They can be planted out at any time of the year provided you can water them to get them established.

When and how to prune viburnums

  • Viburnums are pretty tough and don’t require a lot of special care.
  • If you are growing one of the hedging varieties you will need to clip it about three or four times a year to ensure it stays bushy and within limits.
  • Start shaping hedges from a young age.

Diseases and pests

Viburnums are occasionally attacked by thrips or spider mites. If you see the foliage starting to turn silver then look for these pests under the leaves and use an appropriate garden insecticide to control them.

How to grow viburnums from cuttings

You can propagate your evergreen viburnums by taking cuttings in late spring or early summer.

  1. Take cuttings that are about 10 centimetres long from the growing tips.
  2. Strip the leaves off the lower half and dip the end into a rooting hormone before putting into a pot of propagating sand.
  3. For deciduous viburnums use a similar technique but take the cuttings in mid-winter.

If you like this then try

Choisya: glossy foliage shrub for specimen planting or as a hedge.

Pittosporum: very fast growing hedging plants.

Lilly pilly: fabulous Australian native plant with shiny foliage that makes a great hedge.

Murraya: beautifully scented white flowers are a feature of this shrub often also used as a hedge.

Start planting today

Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing!

 

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Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

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