By Sandra Nelson
This week’s pick is by Karl Hying, Landscape Designer
A fragrance that rivals that of the old fashioned lilacs that grew in Grandma’s garden, with the added bonus of blooming at least a month earlier!
While many species of viburnums are common choices for MIdwestern landscapes, Koreanspice viburnum is one that is often overlooked. A small to medium-sized, slow-growing deciduous shrub (4 to 5 feet at maturity), Koreanspice’s most outstanding feature is its heady fragrance in the early spring. Red bloom buds begin to appear in late March or early April and slowly open into snowball shaped clusters of aromatic pink flowers that gradually turn white. The flowers are often followed by inconspicuous berry-like fruit in late summer. Fall temperatures turn the dark green summer foliage into beautiful shades of burgundy.
An easy plant to grow, Koreanspice viburnum thrives in full sun to light, partial shade. It needs moist, well-drained soil and appreciates regular, deep waterings during periods of drought. It is excellent as both a specimen and a foundation plant, but with its intoxicating fragrance begs to be planted where it can be fully appreciated. Rarely bothered by pests or diseases, Koreanspice viburnum is an important food source for Spring Blue Azure butterflies. Deer tend to avoid it.
Zones: 4 – 7