Burkwood Viburnum

These blooms have a rich scent that can last for nearly two weeks.

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Plant type: deciduous to evergreen shrub
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5 to 8

Although there are shrubs with larger blooms, few plants can compete with Burkwood viburnums in spring when their flowers fill the garden with rich spicy-sweet fragrance. Plants bear dark green leaves that are gray-green to rusty colored underneath. The small white flowers, which are pink when in bud, are carried in loose, rounded, two- to three-inch wide clusters. Their fragrance is effective for nearly two weeks in early spring. Flowers are followed by red berries that ripen to black and are attractive to birds. Plants range from eight to 10 feet tall and spread from six to eight feet at maturity. Plants are deciduous in northern zones and semi-evergreen to evergreen in the South, from USDA Zone 7 to 8. Leaves usually are still green when they drop at the end of the season.

Cultivation: Give Burkwood viburnum a spot in full sun or partial shade. Plants prefer evenly moist soil that is well drained. While slightly acid soil is best, burkwood viburnums tolerate a range of soil pH. Prune immediately after flowering as necessary to shape the plant. Remove dead, diseased, or unhealthy wood any time.

How to use it: Plant Burkwood viburnum in shrub borders, foundation plantings, or screen plantings. It is most effective near sitting areas or next to windows or doors, where the fragrance of the flowers can be appreciated.

Selected Cultivars:

  • 'Anne Russell' is a compact selection that grows to six feet tall and spreads to about eight feet wide.
  • 'Chenaultii', another compact selection, bears fragrant pink flowers and grows to about five feet tall.
  • 'Fulbrook' produces three-inch-wide flower clusters that are especially fragrant.
  • 'Mohawk' bears showy red buds that open into white, spicy-scented flowers. Plants feature orange-red fall foliage and also are resistant to powdery mildew and bacterial leaf spot.

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