Why are viburnums so underused in landscapes? That’s a great question! They are one of the largest and most diverse groups of shrubs yet rarely find themselves in the average homeowners yard. Now I do admit that the sheer variety of viburnums can be a bit overwhelming. There is literally a viburnum for every application; it’s simply a matter of sorting through them to find one that meets your needs. This week we are showcasing the Winterthur Viburnum (Viburnum nudum). It is also commonly called “Possumhaw” Viburnum. We love it because it’s native, has a wide variety of uses, and benefits a host of pollinators and other wildlife with its abundance of flowers and berries.
The Winterthur viburnum has more of a natural look and will get about 6 feet tall and wide. It is extremely versatile with the locations it can be planted. While it prefers a good amount of sun it’s also one of the best viburnums for shady areas. It also tolerates wet feet so if you have an annoying area in your yard that’s sun deficient and tends to stay wet this could be a good option to try out.
It produces an abundance of flowers from April to May and is a favorite of butterflies. However, one of the best reasons to plant this variety is the incredible show it puts on in late Fall. The blue berries against a backdrop of leaves that showcase multiple shades of reds and purples is truly breathtaking.
Now despite its seasonal interest this is not the best plant to use for foundation planting unless it’s used as an accent and has plenty of room to grow without blocking windows. (Remember, the right plant + the right location = little to no maintenance.) This one works best as a backdrop or around the perimeter of your yard. It’s also best planted in groups so that you can receive the most from its incredible fall show (groups of 3’s planted about 4 feet apart works great). It will lose all its leaves in winter but its unique bark provides interest nonetheless.
If your looking for more height use Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw) instead. It has all the same great characteristics as the Winterthur but can reach heights of 12 to 15′.
The Winterthur Viburnum should be obtainable at most credible nurseries. If you are in the Richmond, VA area we recommend Glen Allen Nursery for all your plant needs. They carry a wide variety of viburnums and are happy to answer any questions you might have. Check them out at: www.glenallennursery.com
If you have any questions for us simply leave a comment and we will be glad to reply. Thanks for reading!
– Megan & Brian