Viburnum Experience Needed!

sparrowknoll(7)October 20, 2008

I'm a newbie to GW, and have done my impatient 'due diligence' in the search and FAQ sections w/o finding what I am looking for: the differences between various viburnum's Zone 7 capacities for shade (dry & wet) tolerance.

I have seen the GW information respecting acerifolium and other viburnum natives, read the '07 Dirr (beautiful production values, and has offered me so much useful data, but a little light on the viburnum's differential tolerance for shade and on specific cultivar pollinators for fruit production), and have enjoyed the expertise around related viburnum questions. Local, even large nurseries seem not to really know either, but are willing to invest my money.

Does anyone have 'in-the-ground' experience with viburnum's differential ability to tolerate shade, to flower and fruit productiviely?

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In my experience, Viburnum acerifolium is the most shade tolerant native viburnum - that is, able to produce flowers (and therefore fruit) in some degree of shade (less than 6 hours of sun). I have found it numerous times in the wild in part shade conditions with fruit on it. It also does well in dry conditions. No known cultivars that I have seen. But, I have had Viburnum dentatum provide cross pollination for it (specifically the 'Blue Muffin' cultivar). At my house I have it as a foundation shrub on the shady side of my house. It probably gets 3-4 hours of morning sun and flowers heavily.

For wet conditions, Viburnum nudum is a good choice and it has some shade tolerance but not as much as V. acerifolium.
Several good cultivars available for this one.

I love Dirr's book on viburnums. Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 11:49AM
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V. rhytidophylum, and its various cultivars, do reasonable well in shade--however, we have found (experienced) that in shade these all are more open and rangy. Tighter habits in sun are predictable. The 'Cree' was in most of day in shade for 3 years. Then cut down the tree that shaded it. Now it is, in two years time, much denser and more robust in appearance. Most Viburnum can take partial shade and still remain attractive. But, fuller flowering and tighter habit in sun--at least 6 hours per day in mid-summer season is best. This is zone 5b, so whatever your growth zone is? My understanding is further north, more sun. Further south, more shade. I believe it has to do with the heat or temp at night. Where it doesn't cool down at night, more shade is best.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2008 at 4:59PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I have a horrible site for flowering, fruiting shrubs. [g] The area I need screening is along a back lot line, that backs up to neighbor's properties with Silver Maples. One that is 60 years old and is less than 10 ft on the other side of the fence. Lots of shade and moisture sucking tree roots. I did a lot of reading trying to figure out what to plant and according to many sources, very little would be successful. But I did read a few posts on GW here and there, suggesting a few things to try.

I love Viburnums, with their spring flowers and fall color and fruit. So I have tried a couple. At someone's recommendation I tried a Viburnum maresii. It does get less than two hours of sun in the morning and is in the dripline of a Silver Maple. It is growing slowly, but it is growing and looking healthy. It is not scraggly and after the first two years in the ground, it amazed me by blooming it's fool head off, this past spring. lol It also developed small amounts of fruit. It is only about 4ft tall and 5ft wide at this point. I will be surprised if it reaches it's full size, but you never know.

I also planted a Viburnum 'Wentworth' about 5ft away from that one and is under a high canopy of a silver maple. It actually gets more sun than the maresii by about an hour. It had a few blooms on it the past two years, followed by fruit, but sparse. I planted it too close to the maresii and ended up moving it for the second time, this fall so they both will have plenty of room. I can't say enough good things about this shrub. First of all, I never got around to planting it the first fall I had it and it sat in a pot in the yard all winter. I thought it was a goner and was going to replace it and I was shocked to find it grew back as if it didn't have a care in the world. So after all that, I can not say why it has had sparse flowers and fruit. But even with less than 3 hrs of sun, and root competition and barely any attention, it has looked perfect every day. No signs of stress on the foliage, dense, fast, growth, and very pretty fall color. It has doubled it's size in 3 yrs despite all it's challenges. It is now in a location that might get 4 hrs of sun, so I hope it will bloom more in the future, since I believe it is now in the perfect location for what I have to offer and I won't be moving it again.

We also have Viburnum carlesii, which is my favorite because of the very unusual spicey fragrance of the flowers that I look forward to each spring as much as I do to the lilacs. I worried that it wouldn't bloom but sure enough it had a very good amount of bloom every spring since we planted it. It is planted with a Japanese Maple east of it and on the west side, it is just outside the drip line of that large 60 yr old Silver Maple. It looks wonderful. Growing well, with great branch structure. I love the color of the foliage, it looks great in back of a hydrangea. Lots of fragrant blooms, but have not noticed any fruit. It probably gets about 3-4hrs of sun.

Hope that helps some. Good luck. :-)

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 9:45AM
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Thanks to you all for the useful and very much appreciated advice on several viburnum cultivars. Acerifolium, nudum and trilobum are definately on my fantasy short list. I was thinking of dilitatum, but the invasive issue has scared me away. Wish there was more space and/or I had more $.

I too love the carlesii, but will probably opt for burkwoodii for the size, habit and better/longer Fall color. Thinking about others and just now grateful for the NE Winter to attenuate any tendency towards more compulsive planting decisions.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2008 at 5:03PM
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