An evergreen hedge with a plant that is easy to grow can be ideal for our driveway or garden. The viburnum, the common name of the Viburnum, is definitely the perfect candidate for a compact, low-maintenance hedge.
Let’s see together what are its characteristics is because it can be the ideal candidate to meet our expectations.
The Viburnum: Origins And Characteristics
Viburnum, commonly called viburnum, is a genus of plants belonging to the family Caprifoliaceae, originating in Europe, America and Asia.
Very large family composed of hundreds of different species, with many varieties with different characteristics.
From trees up to 10 m high to shrubs that can reach 5 m high, depending on the species can be both evergreen and deciduous.
The leaves of the viburnum, depending on the species can be persistent or deciduous, smooth or wrinkled and generally very compact and dense.
Like the foliage, also the flowers of this kind of plants vary depending on the species and usually it is always abundant, with flowers usually of white colour, perfumed and united in corymbs or umbrella-shaped tops, followed, in autumn, by a showy fructification.
It is therefore important to know which species is best suited to our purpose and our garden and which are the most common species we find in the avenues and gardens that may have been our first inspiration.
The Most Common Species Of Viburnum
Let’s see which are the most common species cultivated as ornamental plants.
Among the deciduous ones:
- The Viburnum opulus shrub up to 6 m high, known by the name of Oppiono, Snowball or May Ball, with smooth grey branches, deeply trilobed leaves with serrated margin, green above, lighter below, spontaneous in Italy, with numerous varieties, which in May brings large pendulous inflorescences of white flowers, at the end of the branches, the fruits are drupes gathered in terminal bunches of orange-reddish color, edible and juicy that carry only one seed
- The shrub Viburnum lantana, with opposite leaves, oval, fragrant flowers, bell-shaped white, gathered in hemispherical tops, the fruits are oval drupes, red-blackish when ripe, spontaneous in our woods, up to 5 m high, commonly called Viburnum lantana
- The Viburnum carlesii originating in Korea and Japan, deciduous shrub, tall up to 2 m, with elliptic ovate leaves, with wide spring inflorescences
- The Viburnum dentatum shrub up to 4,50 m tall, native to North America, ovate leaves, dark green, white flowers gathered in inflorescences at the end of spring, black-bluish fruits
- The Viburnum dilatum deciduous shrub, originating in Japan, 2-3 m tall, ovate leaves, grey-green in color, flowering at the end of spring of inflorescences with white flowers, red fruits
- The Viburnum lentago shrub or small tree of 4,5-9 m, native to North America, with grey-brownish branches, bright dark green leaves, finely serrated, spring inflorescences with tiny white flowers, the fruits are oval drupes of red colour.
- Viburnum macrocephalum originating in China with globular tops similar to those of hydrangea
- Viburnum nudum shrub 1,5-3,5 m tall, native to North America, elliptical, ovate, dark green leaves, spring-summer inflorescences of white flowers, edible black-blue fruits
- The Viburnum plicatum shrub up to 4 m high, originating in China and Japan, with thick inflorescences with white or pink flowers
- The Viburnum prunifolium known as American Viburnum, tree, large shrub of 3.6-5 m high or tree tall up to 7.50 m, of North American origin, has smooth branches and brown-dark color, opposite leaves, elliptical, serrate of opaque green color, with finely serrated margins, white unscented flowers gathered in terminal clusters in April-May, the fruits are elliptical drupes, pink and bluish-black when ripe, edible.
Among the evergreen species:
- The Viburnum odoratissimum evergreen shrub, native to China and Japan, up to 7.5 -9 m high, with fragrant flowers that open in May.
- The Viburnum tinus spontaneo in the Mediterranean and South-Eastern Europe area, commonly called Viburno tino, Laurotino or Lentaggine, evergreen shrub, over 3 m tall, with dark green leaves, oval and rounded, consistent, white flowers with pink buds, which in some areas bloom from autumn to mid-winter.
How to Cultivate the Viburnum
Being one of those plants defined as easy to cultivate, the very tough and resistant viburnum shrub has little pretension and is satisfied, at least when it is large enough, only with rainwater.
Being a very strong and rustic plant, the viburnum prefers sunny or half-shaded areas to grow luxuriant, and usually do not fear the cold. However, some species prefer locations and places sheltered from the wind.
They are plants that do not need a lot of maintenance or regular pruning. However, they can be pruned to export old and dry branches to young and fresh ones for a thicker and more beautiful hedge or bush.
To cut dry or old branches cleanly, without crushing or fraying, you can use shears, which are ideal for viburnum branches. In fact, poorly cut or frayed branches can become a refuge for many pests, which could infect the plant and prevent its flowering, which is why using the right gardening tools is very important.
The best time to prune the viburnum varies from species to species. This is usually done after flowering for spring or summer flowering species, while for winter flowering species the spring period is preferred.
Multiplication of the Viburnum
One of the most used methods for the multiplication of the viburnum is certainly by cuttings, ie the use of a sprig of the large plant, specially cut and potted with soil or water in order to regenerate roots and then a new plant.
Very leathery and resistant, the viburnum does not need watering or particular fertilizations when adult, it is satisfied of the rainwater only. Although in periods of particular drought, it may be necessary to give the plant some water.