Content Detail

Sargent’s cranberry-bush viburnum is an upright, rounded shrub with a coarse branching habit. The white lacecap flowers have purple anthers. The bright red fruits are persistent, hanging on the tree over the winter. New foliage is burgundy changing to dark green then to a wine-red fall color adding to the seasonal interest.

  • 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 3, Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Occasional drought
  • Season of interest mid spring, late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Multi-stemmed, Round, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size & Form: 

Sargent’s cranberry-bush viburnum is a large, multi-stemmed upright shrub reaching 12 to 15 feet high and wide. 

Native geographic location and habitat: 

It is native to northeast Asia.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife: 

Birds are attracted to fruits in the fall.

Bark color and texture: 

Tan to brown, older stems can be somewhat corky.

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

Oppositely arranged, the 2 to 5 inch long, maple-like leaves have three lobes. The middle leaf lobe is longer than the two side lobes. Leaves are slightly pubescent.  New spring growth is a bronzy-purple, changing to medium green in summer and burgundy-red with yellow undertones in fall.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Flat-topped, 3 to 4 inches in diameter, white, lacecap flower clusters have fertile and sterile flowers. The flowers are malodorous.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

Shiny, up to 1/2 inch scarlet berries (drupe) form in late summer and fall. For best fruiting, plant another type of viburnum that flowers at the same time close by. 

Plant care:

Sargent’s cranberry-bush viburnum is best grown in full sun to part shade. Viburnums roots are fibrous and wide-spreading and do best in fertile, slightly acid soil with lots of organic matter. Mulch well to moderate soil temperatures and retain moisture. For best fruiting potential, plant another viburnum of the same species close by. Prune to control size. Remove older stems to the ground. Best pruned right after flowering.  It is not tolerant of drought conditions and may require supplemental water during dry periods.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:  

Aphids, mildew, and viburnum crown borer can be problems for this plant. It is not tolerant of drought conditions.

Yellow-fruited Sargent’s cranberry-bush viburnum (Viburnum sargentii ‘Flavum’):

Similar to species except it has yellow fruit, this cultivar may be difficult to find in nurseries.

Onondaga Sargent’s cranberry-bush viburnum (Viburnum sargentii ‘Onondaga’):

A large 8 to 10 feet high and wide, rounded shrub which has large white flower clusters.


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