You Can Grow That! ~ Doublefile Viburnum

Once again, I’m joining in on the You Can Grow That! meme started by C.L. Fornari over at Whole Life Gardening.

You Can Grow That! is a celebration of gardens and plants and the joy they bring to our lives.

A Singular Pleasure

Doublefile viburnumOne of the most graceful spring-flowering shrubs has to be doublefile viburnum, (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum).

The combination of horizontal branches and creamy white lacecap flowers, arranged in double file along the length of the branches, make doublefile viburnum an irresistibly elegant addition to many gardens here in southwestern Connecticut.

At this time of the year, when they seem to be dripping with flowers, the shrubs seem to glow, especially on overcast or rainy days.

Standing at Attention

Side view of doublefile viburnum flowers - Connecticut gardenOne of the best attributes of double-file viburnum has to be its unusual flowers. The flowers, held several inches above the branches and leaves, always make me smile when viewed from the side.

The double rows of flowers highlight the horizontal branching pattern of the shrub.

Flowers typically last 3 – 4 weeks in my garden. Clusters of small red berries follow the flowers but are not overly ornamental. The rough, serrated leaves turn a brilliant shade of purple in the fall.

Growing Doublefile Viburnum

Double-file viburnums are not overly picky about site conditions.

If you can meet a few basic requirements, you’ll be rewarded for many, many years.

◊ They grow in both full sun and full shade but seems to do best with some afternoon shade.

◊ They prefer moist, well-drained, acidic soil with loads of organic matter.

◊ They are not overly drought tolerant. In my garden (zone 6b), they are one of the first shrubs to show the effects of inconsistent rain.

◊ Mature shrubs can reach 8 – 10′ tall with a slightly wider spread.

◊ I consider doublefile viburnum to be deer-resistant. I have 5 of them in garden and they have never been bothered by deer (can you hear me knocking on wood??)

◊ Hardy in zones 5 – 8.

Other Options

If you don’t have room for a full size double-file in your garden, consider planting one of these cultivars:

Before you rush off to check out the other You Can Grow That! posts, please take a minute to share what your favorite spring-flowering shrub is.

14 thoughts on “You Can Grow That! ~ Doublefile Viburnum

  1. I can definitely hear you knocking on wood … keeping my fingers crossed that deer cannot secretly read your comment. Viburnum are some of the best small trees/large shrubs. Plant them and for the most part you can sit back and watch them grow while you attend to other plants. I love how the doublefile blossoms stand at attention.

    • Plant and forget is definitely my style of gardening. A plant has to survive on it’s own for it to make it in my garden, that’s why I have so many doublefiles!

  2. Pingback: Garden Bloggers You Can Grow That Day – May 4 2012 « Whole Life Gardening

    • Donna, I think viburnums may be my favorite shrub. I added some blue muffin viburnums to my garden last year but the deer seem to love them a much as I do. I’d like to add some other native viburnums but I find they are not very deer resistant, which needs to be a priority in my garden.

  3. I planted a Viburnum in my garden late last summer so I am looking forward to watching it grow and flower this year – it has already grown several inches since I got it and I even cheekily took a hardwood cutting in the Autumn which has rooted and is now planted out (still tiny though).

    • Bridget, It sounds like you’re going to have lots of years of enjoyment ahead of you. Once the viburnums get settled, they’ll really start to grow, and flower.

  4. Pingback: Spring-Flowering Shrubs: Doublefile Viburnum « Gardora.net

  5. I love this shrub and have 2 huge ones in my front yard and 2 in the side yard. The side yard ones were ones I dug up out of the front yard after the low branches had hung down and touched the ground and rooted and started getting big. What I have noticed just recently–and I am a bit concerned about this–is they are popping up here and there along the edge of my back woods. I am watching 3 of them to be sure they are this exact viburnum. The leaves are exactly the same but they are too young to flower. If they are this may be a cause of concern. Have you heard of this happening? The past 2-3 years they were loaded with berries and I think the birds planted them!

    • Diane, I’ve never seen, or heard of, that happening. I’ve had two of mine for almost 20 years and have never found any seedlings. Now, my spireas are another story. Over the past several years, they are seeding like crazy. Do you have that problem, too?

    • Hi Laura, You’re right, it is underused. Perhaps because it gets so big. I was at a potential client’s house the other day and the builder had planted 4 of them right next to the foundation. They were small now but when I told the homeowners they would eventually get to be over 10′ tall they were horrified. Their first question was, why would some plant this so close to the house? Talk about a loaded question!

      • This is exactly why I had these on my front foundation–the builder planted them in a 3′ wide bed! I now have 10′-12′ curvy wide beds in the front and these shrubs still reach onto the sidewalk! They are amazingly beautiful but must be placed with a lot of space around! I see them planted now in parking lots and they get sheared so they get these tiny, sparse flowers. I will let you know if my seedlings are this viburnum when I know for sure.

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