Snowball Viburnum’s Amazing Flower Display

While Snowball Viburnum is not a beautifully perfect  looking specimen, its flowers make up for its looks

While Snowball Viburnum is not a beautifully perfect-looking specimen, its flowers make up for its looks

Even in bud Snowballs are beautiful

Even in bud, Snowballs are beautiful.

The blooms of Chinese Viburnum is why it is called Snowball Viburnum

The blooms of Chinese Viburnum is why it is called Snowball Viburnum.

Not many plants make a bigger show than Chinese Snowball Viburnum (Viburnum macrocephalum) in bloom. Many folks think they are hydrangeas, but these wonderful viburnums can reach over 15 feet in height. They make a show that is rivaled by few other deciduous spring-flowering shrubs in our area. Out of bloom, they are not much to look at. Mine is so ordinary and irregular in shape and height that it goes unnoticed most of the year. Here is the nice part: It is easy to grow, and this time of the year most garden shops that carry an assortment of shrubs have a couple. The one thing I know about them is that they do not like wet feet, but they will make it even in poor soil. My son dug a sucker from mine and put it in his back yard, which I think is mostly chert and clay. It is doing great, but is in a sloping location which affords it some drainage. Snowballs like full sun but can take light shade. I try to shape mine in winter, but it is also fine to prune it after flowering. Do not be afraid to cut some of the blossoms to enjoy indoors. For a sensational display of blooms, Chinese Snowball Viburnum is a great choice for our metro area.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

One thought on “Snowball Viburnum’s Amazing Flower Display

  1. They are so gorgeous right now, and almost seem to glow in the dark at night. I nearly ran off the road last week looking at a nice planting of them along Lorna Road!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *