Shade Loving Shrubs: Viburnum

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Viburnums are some of the hardiest and easiest to grow shrubs used in home landscaping. They are appealing because of their ability to withstand drought and tolerate shady conditions. These deciduous shrubs provide year-round interest with bright green foliage, creamy flowers in spring and bright berries in fall. Many cultivars are available. Place viburnums in front of evergreens to accentuate their creamy white flowers and red or blue berries.

Snowball Viburnum

  • Viburnum opulus, also known as the snowball viburnum or European cranberry bush, is perhaps the showiest viburnum. With its abundant lacy snowball flowers, bright red berries and glossy green leaves, this shrub possesses an old-fashioned appeal. It grows 4 to 6 feet tall and 5 to 7 feet wide in either full sun or partial shade.

Leatherleaf Viburnum

  • Viburnum rhytidophyllum, or leatherleaf viburnum, is one of the easiest to grow viburnums and tolerates considerable shade. Its 8- to 10-foot height and coarse evergreen leaves make it an excellent screening shrub. The dark green leaves droop from their stems like spaniel ears and have deeply etched veins. This deciduous shrub retains its leaves year-round from northern Florida through the Ohio Valley, and is semi-evergreen in northern states. It sports creamy white flowers in spring and abundant berries in fall.

Arrowwood Viburnum

  • Viburnum dentatum, or arrowwood viburnum, also grows well in sun or shade. This extremely adaptable shrub reaches 6 to 8 feet tall and takes on a rounded shape. Its creamy white flowers bloom in spring and its blue berries attract birds in fall. Arrowwood viburnum grows in zones 3 through 8.

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