Content Detail

Korean spice viburnum’s most notable characteristic is the intoxicating fragrant white flowers that cover the shrub in spring. The pink to red budded white flowers have a pink blush, leaves are a dull, dark green that turn outstanding wine-red in the fall. An excellent choice as specimen, in a shrub border, and as a foundation plant. Place it where the fragrant flowers can be enjoyed. This plant has some cultivated varieties.  Burkwood viburnum (Viburnum x burkwoodii), is a related species also listed below with cultivars. Go to related species and a list of cultivars.

  • Family (English) Elderberry
  • Family (botanic) Adoxaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small shrub (3-5 feet), Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Chicago), Zone 6, Zone 7
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Clay soil
  • Season of interest late spring, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Mounded, Round
  • Growth rate Slow

Size & Form: 

A rounded, dense shrub with stiff, upright branch habit, it grows 4 to 8 feet high and wide.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Native to Korea and Japan

Bark color and texture: 

Older stems are gray in color.

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

Opposite; simple leaves are 2 to 4 inch long and opposite; dull green to lustrous, and gray-green in color. Fall color is wine red.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Small white flowers in a 2 to 4 inch diameter, semi-snowball shaped cluster; flower buds are pink giving flowers a pinkish tinge. Extremely fragrant.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Egg shaped-red to black fruit is not showy or prolific.

Plant care:

Best in full sun to light shade for greatest flowering potential. Soil pH adaptable, moist, well-drained soil, except for extremely wet sites. Prune after flowering. Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Korean spice viburnum is susceptible to viburnum crown borer.

Aurora Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’):

6 to 8 feet high and wide; prolific deep pink-red buds  open to pinkish-white.

Compact Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii ‘Compactum’):

Dwarf form reaching 3 to 4 feet high; dark green leaves and pinkish-white flowers

Spice Bouquet™ Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii ‘N. J. Select’):

4 to 5 feet high and 5 to 6 feet wide; dark rose-pink buds open soft pink flowers

Spice Island™ Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii ‘N. J. Select A’):

3 to 5 feet high and wide; red-pink buds, white flowers; dark green leaves, red fall color

Sugar N’ Spice™ Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii ‘N.J. Select S’):

4 to 5 feet high and wide; dark green leaves, maroon red fall color

Burkwood viburnum (Viburnum x burkwoodii):

This hybrid is a cross between V. utile and V. carlesii. It is a densely-branched shrub reaching 8 to 10 feet high and 5 to 7 feet wide, fragrant white, 2 to 4 inch wide flat-topped cymes in April.

Mohawk Burkwood viburnum (Viburnum x burkwoodii ‘Mohawk’):

A hybrid of V. burkwoodii x V. carlesii; shiny red buds open to white petals with red blotch; very fragrant; broadly rounded reaching 7 to 8 feet high; dark green leaves turn a reddish purple.


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