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Viburnum davidii – Growing tips, cultivation and planting information

Last updated on January 22nd, 2020

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Viburnum davidii – Has been awarded a ‘RHS Award of Garden Merit’

This hardy evergreen shrub originates from western China and is unlike most other varieties of Viburnum it provides a profusion on small white flowers upon tall stems from early spring and summer. The flowers last for long periods of time and will handle the worst of the spring weather. The clusters of white flowers are followed by small metallic blue fruits (non edible) which are the real eye-catcher for the beautiful plant. The attractive oval shaped fruits last from Autumn into the winter providing winter colour.

The long leathery leaves are dark green and usually quite large at around 4″ long and have 3 veins running length ways down the leaf. Being evergreen it provides all year round colour and provides a nice back drop of colour if planted towards the back of a border with perennials planted at the front.

It grows to around 150cm (5ft) tall by around 150cm (5ft) wide and forms a nice neat dome shape. Its makes an excellent ground cover shrub and helps suppress weeds. They are commonly planted in groups to form ground cover and just need a trimming to keep them to your desired shape and size.

Viburnum davidii produce white flowers in summer

Viburnum davidii – source:

Male and Female Viburnum davidii

Viburnum davidii is dioecious which means that there are both male and female plants but unfortunately there is no way to know which one is which except for the flower. To ensure you get one that can produce berries it would be best to visit a local nursery or garden centre and buy them when they are in fruit. Males plants do not produce the fruit or seed.

Viburnum davidii fruits

Viburnum davidii – source:

Viburnum davidii growing guide

These hardy shrubs are very easy to grow and require very little care and attention once established but do require some care when young. They prefer to be planted in full sun or partial shade but will grow well and are often seen in more shady wooded areas under trees.

They will grow in most soil types but it does need to be well-drained, if your soil is clay and becomes water logged try adding grit to the soil to improve drainage and add peat to bulk and help break up the clay. Water regularly when planted until the plant becomes established and mulch around the base in Autumn and Spring to help add nutrients to the soil and help keep the roots moist.

When Viburnum become dry they will let you know as their leaves start to droop and look sad.

Propagating Viburnum

Viburnum can be propagated in two ways, the easiest and most successful way is to take semi-hardwood cutting around mid summer / early autumn. Take the cutting that are 6cm long and apply a rooting hormone to the cutting, this is advised and will increase the chances of it taking root. Place the cutting into a mix of compost and sand (50/50) and leave over winter and in spring the cutting should be ready to transplant into small 9cm pots to grow on for another 12 months.

Hardwood cuttings can be taken in winter and propagated in the same way as described above. When taking cutting it can improve the success rate if you use a propagator with bottom heat set to 12-20ºC.

The other way to propagate is to take the fresh seed which is taken in autumn  from the plant and sow into trays or seed compost, this way may leave you disappointed but if you want to try, the seed needs to be chilled for a couple of weeks in a fridge before sowing. This is done to make the seed think it has been through winter, if you miss this step they are unlikely to germinate or will take longer. Sow seeds into a tray thinly and place in a cold frame or in a warm place which is known as warm stratification which can speed up the process. The seed may take 14 months to germinate so be patient. This is why taking semi-hardwood and hardwood cutting is so appealing as plants can be quickly grow within 6 months from taking cuttings.

Pest and diseases

Viburnum davidii is usually unaffected by pest or diseases but they can be attacked by a small fly called thrips. This tiny fly may leave small holes in the leaves and can be sprayed with a insecticide at the first signs. The only other thing to watch out for is droopy leaves, this is usually caused by a lack of water.

They can be affected by leaf spot, this is black spots on the leaves and can be caused by several reasons including viruses. Affected leaves are best removed, Although it will not kill the plant it can make the plant look unsightly.

Pruning Viburnum davidii

They require very little pruning except for the odd trim to trim it to a desired shape or trim back any over grown areas with a sharp pair of secateurs. The are best trimmed after flowering to a strong shoot in summer and can handle a hard pruning to base level if needed. If you have no need to prune then they are best left, if you trim after flowering you will be trimming off the growth where the oval blue fruits would appear in autumn so expect no fruits that year. This is one of the reasons there best left not pruned and only pruned when necessary.

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