June 3, 2017
About two months ago, I planted several snowball viburnums. They seem healthy enough, but they have not grown as rapidly as I had hoped. Is there some type of fertilizer I should be using and if so, how often? How tall will they eventually grow? What type of care do these bushes require? As I haven’t seen these plants in other gardens here in central Arkansas, I’m beginning to wonder if I may have made a mistake by planting them.
The snowball bush has been around for years. There are several viburnum species commonly called snowball bush --Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ is typically the more commonly used heritage plant with large non-fragrant sterile white blooms. The Chinese snowball bush is Viburnum macrocephalum which is a bit more in vogue these days. Both plants can get quite large at maturity but there are some new more compact varieties and all should do well throughout Arkansas. These plants are sterile and do not produce berries. Don’t be surprised if you don’t see rapid new growth immediately following planting. The first growing season we are more concerned that the roots are getting established to sustain the plant long-term. Depending on variety some of these plants can grow upwards of 12 feet in height. They like a well-drained soil with supplemental watering in the summer. Pruning should be done after bloom when needed.
May 27, 2017
I have a question about our doublefile viburnum. It used to be a full and healthy plants but it began to look stressed two summers ago. I would water it but apparently not enough. The only healthy growth now is on the lower left. It did have leaves and a few anemic flowers this spring but they quickly dropped off. What should I do?
I would do a Hail Mary and cut out all the dead growth. It is going to leave a pretty small plant, but water and fertilize and see what happens. If it still looks bad next spring, pull it and replace it. My new motto is life is too short to live with bad plants!
March 25, 2017
Fungus is slowly ruining my red top photina screen. I would like to use 20-30 big Leaf Viburnum as a replacement. Could you tell me if now, spring, or fall is the best time to plant the Viburnums here in El Dorado.
I think you are referring to Viburnum utile. I think it would be a great idea. ‘Conoy’ is one variety that should be available but may not get as tall as you want—or as tall as the red tops. It does have beautiful flowers. Another viburnum that will get taller is V. awabuki ‘Chindo’. It has glossy evergreen foliage and would be winter hardy in El Dorado. It does have fragrant white flowers and good berry set once it begins to bloom. Spring or fall planting is fine with either, but you will probably find more availability in the spring.
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