, Muskogee, OK


July 25, 2013

These plants glitter, glow

— Viburnums are workhorses in residential landscapes. They come in all sizes; many have white, cream or pink flowers in the spring, followed by fall berries, and autumn leaf color that ranges from gold to red and purple. Viburnums are insect and disease resistant, making them low-maintenance.

Out of the 150 species, most are USDA cold hardy in zones 4 to 9. There are selections for wet or dry, shade or sun.

Dwarf Viburnum opulus nanum matures at 2 feet tall without flowers or fruit — ideal for foundation plantings. Its full size parent, European cranberry bush, grows to 8 or 10 feet.

Viburnum opulus variety roseum, European snowball viburnum, grows to 10 feet tall and has red leaves in the fall.

Evergreen and semi-evergreen varieties include: Leatherleaf Viburnum rhytidophyllum (cream flowers) and viburnum pragense (pink flowers). V. rhytidophyllum thrives in heavy shade. Semi-evergreen means that they will hold their leaves until temperatures dip below 10 degrees.

For the shrub row or a summertime privacy shrub, choose 20-foot-tall Japanese Viburnum Seiboldii.

Michael Dirr calls vibutnum plicatun tomentosum, doublefile viburnum, “an aristocrat among flowering shrubs.” It grows in a tree form and has cascades of flowers in the spring. Fall leaf and berry color is red. Molly Schroeder and pink beauty are known for their pink flowers.

Two new Viburnums for 2014 were announced by Proven Winners this summer and will arrive in garden centers next spring — all that glitters bracted arrowood viburnum (viburnum bracteatum) and all that glows bracted arrowood viburnum bracteatum. Plan to buy one of each because they promote flowering and fruiting in each other through cross-pollination.

Bracted viburnums are known for their heat tolerance and a pleasing natural shape that requires no pruning. Dirr calls them “tough as nails.”

All that glitters has white flowers in late spring and blue berries in the fall. Deciduous viburnum bracteatum is deer resistant, native to North America, and attractive to birds and wildlife. It matures at 5 feet tall and wide.

To plant a row of them, space the shrubs 5 feet apart. Shade part of the day will keep all that glitters more attractive. They are native to states east and south of Oklahoma, so plan to water new shrubs for the first two or three years until their roots become established.

The flowers bloom on old wood, so it is best to do any pruning or shaping after the flowers fade in the spring. Fertilizing is not necessary but can be also be done in the spring. Cold hardy in zones 5 through 8; fall color is gold to bronze.

All that glows has glossy leaves, but otherwise resembles all that glitters in that it is deer resistant, prefers some shade, has white flowers in the spring, and blue berries in the fall. It matures at 5 feet tall and about 4 feet wide.

Mowhawk viburnum, viburnum x mohawk, has dark red flower buds that become fragrant white flowers. The shrub itself has a naturally compact and round shape. The leaves become orange-red in the fall.

Viburnum prunifolium, vlackhaw viburnum, is an American native plant that grows easily here and can be pruned into a tree shape. The flowers are white and the edible fruits are pink to black and is mildew resistant. It grows 12 feet tall and wide in part shade.

It is illegal to propagate patented plants such as all that glitters and all that glows viburnums, but feel free to propagate unpatented viburnum varieties. Take 6-inch softwood cuttings during the summer, remove the leaves, dip the cuttings in rooting hormone, and plant them in potting soil.

Viburnums prefer a slightly acidic soil that is rich in organic material, so mulch them with pine straw or tree bark.

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