Viburnum Species and Viburnum Carlessii
Common name: none
There are around 150 species of these generally easy-to-grow deciduous and evergreen shrubs, many noted for their wonderful fragrance. Some flower during the winter months on naked stems, whilst others bloom in the spring and summer. Some take on rich autumnal colours.
Among the best known members of the family is Viburnum x bodnantense, a medium-sized shrub with a free-flowering habit. Its clusters of sweetly scented pinkon naked stems appear from mid-autumn, sometimes even earlier, and carry on throughout the winter. There are three forms (all AGM holders): ‘Charles Lamont’, rich pink;’Dawn’, rose pink gradually darkening as they age, and ‘Deben’, pink buds opening to white.
An excellent spring flowerer is V x burkwoodii, an evergreen with dark foliage, green and shiny on the upper surface, brownish-grey and felted on the underside. The flower heads are pink in bud opening to white; unfortunately they do not last when cut. There are a number of named forms including ‘Anne Russell’ (AGM), grown for its fragrance and compact habit
One species that flowers in the spring and early summer is V carlesii. A native of Japan, when introduced in 1906 it soon became popular. There are a number of name varieties, perhaps the best being ‘Aurora’ (AGM) with coppery-tinted young foliage; its rose-red flower buds open to pale pink.
Viburnum davidii (AGM) is a low-growing evergreen shrub with large, oval, glossy dark green leaves. The flowers are small, in terminal clusters and appear in early summer. They are followed by long-lasting bright blue berries on reddish stalks. To ensure a good show it is necessary to have at least one male plant growing in close proximity.
With so many splendid plants available only a few can be mentioned. One should not overlook V tinus with its evergreen oval leaves. This is a great favourite, widely planted and an excellent winter shrub, It has been in cultivation since it was introduced in the late 16th century from Mediterranean regions. The clusters of flat pink-budded flowers open to white and appear from late autumn. It is happy in sun or light shade and will tolerate maritime conditions.
Soil type Humus-rich, moist but well-drained.
Planting In autumn or spring, best in sun but will tolerate light shade. The winter-flowering varieties should be placed where they are not subjected to cold winds. Principally grown for their flowers, viburnums are best planted in groups of three or more.
Pruning Pruning is not generally required, except for cutting back damaged or straggly stems. Tackle the deciduous viburnums after flowering, and the evergreen forms in mid-spring.
Propagation Semi-ripe cuttings with a heel may be taken in late spring or early summer Long shoots can be layered in late summer and detached a year later.
Pests and diseases Aphids can become a problem — as soon as they are noticed, spray them with a suitable insecticide.