Viburnum Snowball (Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’) deciduous, moderate growth to 10-15 feet in height with an equal spread, rounded growth habit, clusters of large, white flowers in spring, maple leaf-shaped foliage turns red in the fall, sun to light shade, deer resistant.
Viburnum is a large, diverse group of plants with generally oval, often handsome leaves and clusters of typically white, sometimes fragrant flowers. Blossoms are usually followed by single-seeded, often brilliantly colored fruit much appreciated by birds. Many viburnums are grown for their flower display, a few for their showy fruit. Many evergreen types are valuable as foliage plants. Here are some that do well in the Bay Area.
Compact mound to 3–4 ft. high and wide. Handsome, glossy dark green, deeply veined leaves to 6 in. long. White flowers in 3-in. clusters open from dull pinkish red buds in spring; they are not showy but are followed by an arresting show of metallic turquoise blue fruit. Grow with acid-loving plants.
These spring-bloomingviburnums all havecomplex ancestry.
‘Cayuga’. Deciduous. Zones2–11, 14–24. To 5 ft. tall andwide. Dark green, 1–3-in.-longleaves. White flowers openfrom pink buds.
‘Chesapeake’. Semievergreen.Zones 3–11, 14–24.To 8 ft. tall, 10 ft. wide, withwavy-edged, glossy dark greenleaves. Two-inch clusters offragrant white flowers open frompink buds; dull red fruit agesto black.
‘Conoy’. Evergreen. Zones3–12, 14–24. Dense growthto 5 ft. tall and wide. Lustrousdark green, 2–2 1/2-in. leavesare whitish beneath; take onmaroon tinge in cold winters.Slightly fragrant flowers arefollowed by long-lasting redberries. Tolerates shearing.
‘Eskimo’. Semievergreen.Zones 3–12, 14–24. Dense,compact habit to 5 ft. tall andwide. Shiny dark green leavesto 4 in. long; unscented flowersin 3–4-in., snowball-like clusters.
To 8– 15 ft. tall and wide, with arching branches. Lobed, maplelike dark green leaves to 2–4 in. long and as wide or wider. Fall foliage color may be yellow, bright red, or reddish purple. Blooms in spring; flower heads have a lacecap look, with a 2–4-in. cluster of small fertile blossoms ringed with larger sterile blossoms. Large, showy red fruit persists from fall into winter. Takes moist to boggy soils.
To 8–15 ft. tall and wide; horizontal branching pattern gives plant a tiered look. Strongly veined, 3–6-in.-long, dull dark green leaves turn purplish red in autumn. Showy, 3-in., snowball-like clusters of sterile flowers look like those of V. opulus ‘Roseum’. No fruits
Viburnum plicatum tomentosum
A truly beautiful viburnum. Resembles the species but has lacecap flower heads: flat, 2–4-in. clusters of small fertile flowers edged with 1– 1/2 -in. sterile ones. Fruit is red aging to black; showy but not always profuse.
To 6–12 ft. tall, half as wide. Leathery dark green, 2–3-in.-long leaves with edges slightly rolled under. Wine red new stems. Blooms from fall to spring; tight clusters of pink buds open to lightly fragrant white flowers. Bright metallic blue fruits last through summer. Dense foliage right to ground makes it good for screens, hedges, clipped topiary shapes. Can be trained as a small tree. Susceptible to mites; prone to mildew near ocean.
To 15 ft. tall, 12 ft. wide. Leaves look much like those of V. opulus; they emerge reddish tinged, mature to dark green, turn yellow to red-purple in fall. Lacecap flowers appear in midspring. Fruit is similar to that of V. opulus but is used for preserves and jellies. Less susceptible to aphid damage than V. opulus.