Content Detail

This large shrub or small tree grows 15 to 20 feet tall. It has glossy, dark green leaves with toothed edges. In May, creamy-white flowers are followed later with clusters of red berries. The shiny dark green leaves turn a burgundy in fall.

  • Family (English) Elderberry
  • Family (botanic) Adoxaceae
  • Tree or plant type Tree, Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Large shrub (more than 8 feet), Compact tree (10-15 feet), Small tree (15-25 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil
  • Season of interest mid spring, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Round, Upright
  • Growth rate Moderate

Size and form: 

A large shrub or small tree that grows 15 to 20 feet high with a 15 feet spread. It has an open habit with stiff horizontal branches.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Siebold viburnum is native to Japan.

Bark color and texture: 

The gray bark is blocky and broken in small plates resembling alligator skin. Branches are grayish, slightly pubescent, and rigid.

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

Opposite, elliptical leaves are 3 to 5 inches long with a toothed margins and deeply ridged veins. Leaves are dark green in summer and may pick up some red-purple color in the fall. They smell like green pepper when crushed. Some cultivars have been selected for improved fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

Small, creamy white flowers are in loose, open clusters on long stalks.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions: 

The fruit is a cluster of small berry-like drupes, changing color from green to red to nearly black as it matures. Once the fruit drops, the inflorescence remains rosy-red and showy.

Plant care:

Siebold viburnum is best in full sun in moist, well-drained soil. Water in dry periods. Prune after flowering in spring. This plant is difficult to locate in nurseries.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

No serious diseases or pests. Scorch may be a problem in sites that are too dry.

Ironclad™ Siebold viburnum (Viburnum sieboldii ‘KLMfour’):  

A heavy flowering form with reliable burgundy fall color, this plant grows 15 feet high and 12 feet wide.

Wavecrest Siebold viburnum (Viburnum sieboldii ‘Wavecrest’): 

This cultivar is 7 to 8 feet high and 4 feet wide. Thick dark green leaves turn a brick-red fall color. The fruit is orange-red with scarlet peduncles.


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