Lovely and easy to grow, they provide astonishing autumn colour
Viburnums are shrubs from the Northern Hemisphere, grown for their attractive leaves, often scented flowers and showy berries. Few of the 150 species are grown in our gardens, but they do include some of our commonest shrubs such as evergreen V. tinus and the winter-flowering V. bodnantense ‘Dawn’. Most are hardy and can be used as specimen shrubs or screens.
The berries will attract fruit-eating birds and bring life to your garden. The evergreens are useful in shade and the deciduous kinds can give your garden rich autumn tones before the leaves drop. Plant the berried kinds with silver-barked birch and red-stemmed cornus. For a complete autumn display, grow a late clematis such as C. orientalis up them for extra colour and contrasting fluffy seed heads.
Viburnums are tolerant of a wide range of soil types, though chalky soils do not suit V. betulifolium. A bright spot is best for good berry production, especially of the deciduous types. Pruning is not necessary. Light pruning can be done in spring, though it may reduce flowering and berry production. For lots of berries, it’s best to plant more than one plant of each type to ensure pollination.