The genus Viburnum is a wide and varied one, typical of several species is the way they present their flower clusters. They give a ring of larger sterile blooms which are showy, and with small fertile flowers in the middle of the cluster. The clusters are flat topped in most cases, so present well on the plant. Many forms (cvs.) are available and suit a number of garden situations and landscape needs. These are virtually maintenance free if you allow for mature width dimensions. Of the many that are obtainable, the European V. opulus has several selections. Notcutts variety is larger in size to at least 12 ft tall. Maple like leaves color nicely in fall. Those flower clusters come in spring and are very showy and decorative. They will produce red fruits if pollinated and those fruit clusters are quite showy in the garden until winter.
There are compact forms (Compacta) and dwarf forms. V. macrocephalum ‘Keetlerii’ is the Chinese species which is single. Very rare but a nice specimen subject if you have a large space to fill. V. plicatum tomentosum is the Japanese Doublefile Viburnum, perhaps one of the finest ornamentals that can be planted. A mature specimen in full glorious bloom rivals the displays of such high quality plants like dogwoods. Here you get horizontal branching in tiers, which gives a layered effect to the shrub. Quite a stunning architectural feature which is very attractive. The plant is virtually maintenance free. Allow for mature spread which often equals the height. (some grow wideer than tall.) This is a four season plant. Spring is that beautiful floral display, summer is red berries, fall has glorious autumnal colors…red, orange yellows, and pink and burgundy and purple as well!, Winter shows the peeling whitish bark on horizontal branching. Sun to shade, abundant/regular watering. This species also has pink forms and repeat blooming forms. The list of cultivars is long. All are great subjects for the landscape! Fuji, Fireworks, Igloo, Lanarth, Mariesii, Shasta, Shoshoni, St. Keverne, are all exceptional larger cvs. Fujisanensis, Summer Snowflake, Watanbe(Nanum Semperflorens) are all repeat bloomers with smaller clusters, but the blooms come repeatedly after the initial spring flush, into fall, sometimes repeating as much as five additional times. Pink cvs. include Pink Beauty, Molly Shroeder. Best siting is with a darker backround so the bloom display is presented well and is very striking.
V. sargentii is another fine species, less common but attractive in flower and fruit. Onondaga has bronzy purple new growth and flower cluster stems. Maple like leaves are attractive and color nicely in fall. Red berries follow if pollination is done. These are edible cranberries(highbush cranberry). There are several forms. Puberulum is a very good fruiter. there are also dwarfs.
V. trilobum is another similar species to V. sargentii and V. opulus. Maple like foliage colors nicely in fall and is attrractive all growing season. Flower clusters are showy in bloom and yield good fruit displays. There are dwarf forms as well.
All viburnums are of easy culture, like regular watering, and fertilizing if soil is poor. Full sun to part shade will suit most of them. Easy care, low maintenance and attractive appearance and often showy floral displays recommend the group! Some are the stars in the landscape.