Viburnums | How to grow and care viburnum opulus | Growing Viburnum Shrubs

Viburnums | How to grow and care viburnum opulus | Growing Viburnum Shrubs

Viburnum Shrubs (Viburnum opulus)

If you are looking for a bush that may add beauty to your landscape, one in all the popular Viburnum shrubs (guelder rose) is also a good addition. They will be either evergreen or deciduous, looking at the species and site wherever they are growing. Several viburnums are placed on a showy platform, manufacturing white flowers in clusters known as corymbs. Several species bear decorative fruits in late summer or fall. They’re typically spherical and should be red, yellow, blue, or black.  There are also viburnum opulus that are grown for their fall foliage and berries. Arrowwood viburnum and Linden arrowwood both produce attractive purplish-red leaves; they are considered to be among the best foliage shrubs.

Viburnum Shrubs (Viburnum opulus)

How to grow and care viburnum opulus

Viburnum opulus can be propagated by seed, but this method is effortful. Instead, take softwood cuttings when a 6-inch terminal branch snaps once bent, that is during the summertime. Spring or fall is the best time to plant viburnums. To transplant a container-grown Viburnum bush, dig the planting hole as deep as the rootball and two to three times wide. Loosen any compact roots gently together with your fingers. Place the ligneous plant into the opening so that the top of the rootball is even with the encircling ground level. Backfill the opening halfway and water it in to settle a very cheap layer of soil. Backfill the remainder of the means, and create a soil ring to carry water. Water it once more to settle in the rest of the way. Space the seeds in line with their mature size.


Viburnums are not particularly picky about where they grow, though they prefer rich, moist soil. The best strategy for planting viburnums is to plant them in containers once they are established, and in an area where the shrub has room to grow. The roots of these shrubs do not like to be immersed in water, so they require soil that is fairly moist and well-drained.  In early summer, mulch plants with well-rotted compost or manure and clip them to retain their shape.


While most viburnums grow best in full sun, they are just as happy in light to partial shade. However, there may be subtle differences between varieties in terms of site requirements. As a general rule, it blooms best in full sun and produces berries and fall colors. You can grow some plants in partial shade, especially the thicker-leaved varieties, but make sure to watch out for black spots and other foliar diseases.


It is not necessary to water guelder rose except when they are newly planted, during times of drought, or in the late fall before the ground freezes. Raindrops or irrigation are usually enough to give your garden a deep watering every week. The drought tolerance of native varieties is moderate, even if they are well established. Make sure that the plant is not overwatered as this can cause plant diseases such as root rot.


Hardy Viburnums don’t require much fertilizer and grow well without it. You may not need fertilizer unless you have a deficiency in your soil. A soil test can determine how well your soil is suited to your needs. It’s important to use the right fertilizer to help promote healthy foliage and flowering. An annual application of a balanced fertilizer in spring is highly beneficial to viburnums. It should be written either 10-10-10 or 15-15-15 on the label that a balanced fertilizer has an equal mix of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.

viburnum opulus | guelder rose


Although viburnums don’t require pruning, they can still be pruned to shape the plant, control its size, or remove dead or damaged branches. There are several varieties of Viburnum that can be pruned into tiny trees of remarkable beauty. You should always prune Viburnum with a sharp pair of bypass hand pruners. When pruning branches larger than 1″, it may be necessary to use long-handled lopper pruners. During late winter or early spring, significant pruning can be done to reduce the size, shape, or form of a tree. Light pruning can be done at almost any time of the year to clip back a stray branch that is damaged or dead. Branches that are damaged or dead should be removed as soon as possible.

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Growing Viburnum Shrubs | arrowwood viburnum