You Can Grow That! is a celebration of gardens and plants and the joy they bring to our lives.
A Singular Pleasure
One 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
One 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.
If you don’t have room for a full size double-file in your garden, consider planting one of these cultivars:
- Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Newport’ – approx. 6′ x 6′
- Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Magic Puff’ – approx. 5′ x 5′
- Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum ‘Shoshoni’ – approx. 6′ x 8′
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.