Getting colour into your gardens in winter is always a concern, and when achieved – a real treat! Viburnums are easy to grow, and deliver on not just colour but also bring a heavenly fragrance to a garden when our spring and summer favourites have faded away. Most varieties produce red, blue or white berries in autumn, great for birds and wildlife (those berries are often poisonous to humans).
There are a dizzying array of viburnum varieties, with huge variations in leaf shape and forms of flower heads, some are evergreen and some deciduous, some flower in winter – others late in spring! The variety and versatility make them invaluable for gardeners seeking all year round interest.
Hardy and robust, they are easy to grow and will flower best in a sunny spot, but can tolerate shade. They prefer well cultivated soil containing ample humus or will grow in chalky soils, they don’t like being waterlogged. As with all plants given a bit of attention in the beginning they will flourish so start them off with some leaf mould and lots of room to develop.
Cut back old and damaged branches after flowering (deciduous types) or in May (evergreen types).
Possible pests problems:
- Viburnum beetle – causes defoliation in spring and summer – pale yellow larvae attack the leaves in spring, with the beetles attaching in summer. Although the viburnum will look tatty it will usually survive an attack. If you want to treat with chemicals the best time is early spring when the larvae first appear (mid-April-May). Never spray when in flower.
- Viburnum whitefly – much rarer, these tiny white flies live in the underside of the leaves and cause mould to appear on the upper side of the leaves. These would need a chemical spray to treat in mid-summer when the flies appear, again don’t spray them when in flower.
- Aphids – also called blackfly. You’ll probably already be familiar with these as they are pretty common and most plants are susceptible to them. They can cause stunted growth, curled leaves and mould. You can use chemical controls. For natural solutions encourage more useful insects to your garden like ladybirds and lacewings that will prey on the Aphids. Lots of plants are well known for deterring Aphids such as marigolds, onions and garlic and the herbs coriander, mint, dill and oregano.
Spring flowering Viburnum
We have a range of spring flowering viburnum that will produce the beautiful fragrant flowers – these are well worth considering in your winter garden schemes for the amazing colour changes to their leaves in the autumn, and autumn and winter berries.