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Viburnum plicatum, Japanese snowball

Viburnum plicatum

Viburnum plicatum is a family of shrubs with stunning abundant blooming. Some are doublefile while others bloom like snowballs.

Viburnum plicatum facts

NameViburnum plicatum
Family – Adoxaceae
Type – shrub

Height – 10 feet (3 meters)
Exposure – full sun or part sun
Soil – ordinary, well drained

Foliage – deciduous – Flowering – spring to fall

Some cultivars are more rare than others, but all are beautiful!

Planting Viburnum plicatum

It is best to plant your Viburnum plicatum (or Japanese snowball) in fall. This greatly favors root development before the winter sets in. On mild winter days, roots spread underground, gearing the shrub up for vigorous growth in spring.

This will lead to quick blooming.

However, if you received your plicatum viburnum in a pot or in a container, you can also plant in spring taking great care to water regularly at the beginning.

  • Viburnum shrubs love well-draining soil.
  • If growing it in pots, choose a good quality soil mix and ensure that water drains well.
  • Follow our advice on shrub planting.

Viburnum plicatum trees needs cool soil to develop really well. Try to cover the soil around the stem with organic material every year.

Pruning Viburnum plicatum

It isn’t necessary to prune the plant, but it can be useful if you wish to reshape older specimens.

Wait for the blooming to end if you wish to reduce or reshape the shrub.

Landscaping with Viburnum plicatum

As part of a

  • flowered hedge,
  • as a standalone,
  • and in shrub beds,

Viburnum plicatum growing and maintenance is easy.

Learn more about Viburnum plicatum

Viburnum plicatum is a very beautiful shrub: blooming in spring is as beautiful as its foliage in fall.

It has the advantage of a high hardiness and provides pollen and nectar for honeybees for their greatest joy in early spring.

Some of the most famous Viburnum plicatum are ‘Mary Milton’, ‘Watanabe’ and ‘Mariesii’.

Also part of the Viburnum family is laurestine, often found in our gardens.

Smart tip about Viburnum plicatum

Avoid locations too exposed to harsh sun. It’s best to plant it underneath a tree or taller shrub that will protect it for part of the day if you live in hot regions. In cooler places it can cope fine with full sun.

Read also on the topic of shrubs:

Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Green flower like a snowball by Viviane Monconduit under Pixabay license
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  • Rachel wrote on 14 October 2018 at 14 h 09 min

    I have a Japanese snowball and the plant was doing very well until they plowed down all the trees beside my property that was supplying some shade for it now it’s in full sun and leaves are turning fall like color! The plant is still too young to produce flowers. I planted it in early spring this year. I was wondering and trying to find out: do they lose their foliage through winter? The leaves are turning and getting very crisp what do I do ?

    • Gaspard Lorthiois wrote on 16 October 2018 at 10 h 15 min

      Hello Rachel! In temperate climates, Japanese snowball loses its leaves in fall since it is a deciduous shrub. If you’re in the Northern hemisphere, it’s quite normal then that it would be losing its leaves.

      However, there is a chance that your shrub took in more sun than it could handle, especially if it was used to growing in the shade. In the end, it should be able to cope with it but it’ll need some time to adjust. You can make the transition easier by hanging a swath of shade netting above it so that it’s covered for part of the day. For example, a square a yard or meter across held up by four tall tomato stakes directly in line with the midday sun above it, at about 6 feet or 1.8 meters high. Make the transition gradual by folding some of the cloth back every week, until after a month or a month in a half it’s in full sun: the plant will have adjusted its leaf and root system by then and should be fine in full sun.

      In a way, it’s a form of transplant shock, so by recreating shading and then slowly removing it you’re making easier for the plant to adjust to new conditions.