Content Detail

Fragrant snowball viburnum is a large, open shrub reaching 6 to 10 feet high. It is one of the last of the very fragrant, snowball-shaped flowers to bloom in spring. The dark green, oval leaves turn a beautiful reddish-purple in the fall.

  • Family (English) Elderberry
  • Family (botanic) Adoxaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Occasional drought, Road salt
  • Season of interest early spring, mid spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, Pink, White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Round, Upright, Vase-shaped
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size & Form:

Fragrant snowball is a large rounded shrub reaching 6 to 10 feet high and 6 to 8 feet wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

This is a hybrid originated in England and is a cross between V. carlesii and V. macrocephalum var. keteleeri.

Attracts birds and butterflies:

Birds and butterflies are attracted to this shrub.

Bark color and texture:

Its bark is light brown to gray.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaves are opposite, 4 to 5 inch long, and rounded with wavy margins. The leaves are dark green with a slight luster in summer changing to reddish-purple in the fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Very fragrant, large white flowers are arranged in dense, lumpy, snowball-like clusters (cymes) 3 to 5 inches wide. They bloom in late April to early May. This is the last of the semi-snowball, fragrant viburnums to bloom in spring. 

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Its fruit are sparse, berrylike drupes that ripen to black. Fruit is not particularly abundant or showy. For better fruiting potential, plant more than one plant.

Plant care:

Fragrant snowball grows best in full sun to part shade in well-drained, slightly acidic soil. It is shallow-rooted and benefits from a layer of mulch to retain moisture. Prune soon after flowering.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Leaf spot, viburnum crown borer, and scale insects are common problems for this shrub. It is tolerant of black walnut toxicity.


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