Content Detail

Leatherleaf viburnum is considered a large, rough textured, evergreen shrub, but in northern climates it will lose its leaves in late autumn and often suffers stem dieback in cold winters.  While the creamy white flowers light up the spring landscape, this species offers no fall color.

  • Family (English) Elderberry
  • Family (botanic) Adoxaceae
  • Tree or plant type Tree, Shrub
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Compact tree (10-15 feet)
  • Light exposure Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil
  • Season of interest early winter, midwinter, late winter, early spring, mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size and form:

Leatherleaf viburnum is a large upright to rounded, course-textured shrub reaching 10 to 15 feet high and wide.

Native geographic location and habitat:

Native to central and west China.

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

Leaves are opposite, dark green, oblong, 3 to 7 inches long, with a wrinkled, textured appearance.  It is considered to be an evergreen but loses leaves in late fall in northern climates.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Flowers are creamy white and are flat-topped to slightly domed. They grow in 4 to 8 inch clusters with a slight fragrance.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Berry-like fruit (drupes) are red but mature to black. They require other viburnums for pollination and fruit set.

Plant care: 

Grows best in full sun with adequate, well-drained soil moisture and should be planted in a protected area to avoid leaf and stem damage. Stem dieback often occurs when temperatures go below -10 degrees F.  Prune after flowering.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

This plant has no serious pest problems, but its evergreen leaves are prone to winter damage.


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