a fruitful year for my viburnum

doublefile viburnum fruitIF I COULD ONLY HAVE ONE GENUS of plants (please, never let that be the rule!), it would probably be Viburnum. With my many shrubs busy setting fruit like mad here despite this wettest of years, I thought I’d praise these multi-season beauties with a post and a little slideshow. (That’s perhaps the showiest of all above, the doublefile viburnum, but I have more to share with you and my beloved birds).

The images and captions take you through some highlights of the genus, at least for me: the showy doublefile, as mentioned; smaller, yellow-fruited ‘Michael Dodge,’ a variety of Linden viburnum (above); the most fragrant of all (and earliest), V. carlesii; a few more hot-fruited favorites, and even a pair of nearly evergreen ones that I love for screening. Have a browse, and after that take note:

There is an archive of viburnum tips and profiles of other fruit-bearing shrubs I love, great possibilities if you’re planning on doing some fall planting and want to bring in the birds, or have viburnum in need of TLC and need a hand. It’s all in the bullets below the slideshow for reference.

Click on the first thumbnail to start the show, then toggle from slide to slide using the arrows beside each caption. Enjoy.

Other Juicy Viburnum Treats from the Archives:

  • TROUBLE IN PARADISE: Viburnum leaf beetle will ravage certain species and varieties in a flash, others not so. Learn how to combat this pest with non-toxic October-through-April search-and-destroy missions.

More Fruit to Savor (and Share With Birds):

  • WINTERBERRY HOLLIES: If I could only have two kinds of plants, hollies would rival viburnums for the top spot. Here’s why.
  • ARALIAS: I grow perhaps four species, but my favorite is a devilishly good one that robins and other thrushes love as much as I do.
  1. Kathy says:

    I’ve have had a carlesii in my garden for about thirty five years. Since I started visiting your website I have added several more varities. I keep finding new spaces and I’m very greedy. The fragrance of carlessi and spring are the perfect partners.

  2. Carol Swenson says:

    I have a question(s) about mildewy phlox in my garden which gets partial sun (4-5 hours or so). (1) can I do anything to prevent the mildew — move to sunnier location? spray with something? care for it more/differently? (2) I have wild and beautiful phlox in a fairly shady location down by my little dirt road. They have just appeared and prospered. Would there be a problem transplanting my mildewy phlox to that location? Would the mildew spread to these heartier, wild cousins? Thanks for any thoughts on this.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Carol. Better than trying to cure powdery mildew (or other fungal conditions) is to try to prevent them. I wrote about it last year in reply to a question, and you can find the information here. As for what’s down the road, I wonder if that’s not Phlox but the lookalike called Dame’s rocket (Hesperis matronalis), which you can see photos of and information about here (and is inclined to grow along semi-shaded woodsy roadsides. It blooms around early June here.

      @Carol C.: When you say organic supplements, what are we talking about, and how much/how often? The reason plants don’t *bloom* is typically too little light, too much Nitrogen (which boosts foliage growth at the expense of blossoms/fruit), overcrowding (more common with bulbs or overgrown perennials, incorrect pruning (removing the dormant flower buds accidentally by pruning in fall through spring, in the case of Viburnums). The reason Viburnums don’t fruit is related to whether they bloomed well, first off, and then whether other kinds are somewhere in the vicinity to pollinate them. But if you don’t have good bloom, you have to solve that first off, I think.

  3. Carole C. says:

    Viburnums are absoulutely gorgeous-that is of course, when they bloom, followed by berries for the birds but, alas, mine have done neither. I have 4, 2 popcorn, planted in mostly shade, and 2 mariesii, 1 is plicatum tomentosum planted in 2006. the other 3 were planted last year. the 2 mariesii are in part sun locations but not near one another. my soil is good, with organic supplements added but obviously I’ve gone wrong some place. they don’t seem to have insects attacking them and have some new growth. PLEASE HELP!

  4. Eric says:

    I really like my Viburnums, especially the Wayfaring Variegated. Very interesting leaves on that one. My latest is a Nudum Winterthur that was put in last year around this time. I found a spot in the yard that was missing something and it fit in perfectly.

  5. Fred from Loudonville, NY says:

    “What I want, is not what I always get”! There are some BEAUTIFUL viburnums at the Rite Aid in Loudonville, NY. The are bushes that are COVERED with berries that are NOW yellow to RED colored. Eventually the berries will turn COMPLETELY red, and stay on the bushes until at least next April, when robins will eat them. I wanted that kind of viburnum for my bush boarder. I even went so far as to pick a leaf off of a bush at the Rite Aid so I would have a sample of exactly what I wanted. The plant man here, told me at the time, there were many vibunums, and the one “Wentworth” was a good berry producer, and what I wanted. NO it was NOT!!! The Wentworth has the red berries , they do last all winter, but the berries are VERY far and in between. My next choice for viburnum was the Cardinal Candy. I have two of them, next to each other. Of the two, one bush, LAST YEAR was covered with flowers and berries, and the other one had hardly any. This year it is the reverse. The one that had not much is covered with green fruit, and the one that produced all the berries LAST year, just grew big. So far neither has produced as I would have like them to. They are NOT the ones at the Rite Aid that I really wanted. I will just have to live with what I have. AND, for JOHANNA ,….. on one of the plant tags, that I am looking at, as I write this commen, The plants like a moist but well drained soil.

  6. Carole C. says:

    thanks for your response. I guess I’m guilty of not doing a couple of your suggestions. I know now they need more phosphorus but I used it too late in the season (may 30) for this year’s bloom but hope next year will be better. I did not prune any buds since 3 of the viburnums were newly planted last year, but 2 of them definitely do not get sun. since I may not have any other place to plant them, I may have to consider pruning some nearby trees. the organic supplements I used were milorganite and moo doo. I think I’m supposed to use super phosphate in april or beginning of may (?) and then again in the fall. do I have that right? maybe some day I’ll live here in the berkshires full time and be here to care for my garden in a more timely way!

  7. ali says:

    I know, perhaps, it’s a bit late to be adding to this comment thread… but I am new as a daily reader of your blog! I just wanted to thank you for this post. I have an eye on a couple areas of my barren landscape where viburnums might do quite nicely. My one wish, though: That you had more full-view images of your specimens! You have nice photography but in nearly every image you were close up on the berries/blooms and I know I, for one, would love to see more of their overall size and scope… how they fit into your landscape.

    1. Margaret says:

      You are welcome, Ali, and hello. Probably you can find bigger views of some of the shrubs in the various slideshows…I have to try to recall. Have a look and see if any about shrubs have more of what you want, though perhaps not. Will keep that in mind.

  8. Kevin says:

    I also love Viburnums for their multi-seasonal interest ! Beautiful flowers, great fruit set that colors up nicely in the fall, [ some are eaten earlier by hungry birds others have to go through several freeezes and thaws to make them more easier to eat for winter resident fowl or early spring arrivals from down south. Their winter beauty is really awsome on the day after the first snowfall;bright colorful berries coated in white! For the longest bloom show nothing beats V.plic.’Summer Snowflake’ the white flowers appear begining in May and contiue until fall but not as abundant as the spring show. Remember most Viburnums produce a better fruit set when another shrub of the same species is planted near by for pollination and the fruit is more abundant and colorful in at least a half-day sun location and may also produce some color in thier foliage in that kind of light as well.

    1. Margaret says:

      Hi, Kevin. Right on all counts! Thank you. Looking around here right now, I am dazzled by the fruit set on the dozens of shrubs this year (we had lots of rain). Wow!

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