Click for previous Image Image 1 of 4 Viburnum betulifolium Birchleaf Viburnum

Viburnum betulifolium

Birchleaf Viburnum

Plant Type:

DECIDUOUS SHRUBS

Viburnum betulifolium – This is a large, seldom encountered Viburnum with birch-like leaves, henceforth, the common name Birchleaf Viburnum. New growth is bronze-red maturing dark green. Showy, fragrant flat-topped white flowers adorn in May/June. Late season clusters of round red glossy berries follow showy white flat-topped white flowers in May/June. Fruits develop much of the summer on long pedicels that stretch and become lax while maintaining an open, rounded form that reminds us of an exploding firework. From green to dull, light yellow to pink-orange the clusters of fruits in late season metamorphose to glossy red. Unlike many Viburnum, V. betulifolium is self-pollinating, not requiring another to make fruit. Red fall foliage color with hot pink highlights some years mixed with yellow and orange is striking in autumn. Curiously, foliage often points ground-ward as the season progresses much in the manner of Cornus kousa. We are increasingly impressed with our plants as they grow larger. Birchleaf Viburnum is a very low maintenance shrub requiring fertile, moisture-retentive soil in part shade to full sun. Viburnum betulifolium tolerates heavy clay soils. This ought to be of interest to arboretums. Avoid constantly wet ground or spots that trend to arid dust between rains.


Height:

10-12 ft

Spread:

10-12 ft

Colors:

White

Zone:

5 to 7(8?)
What is my hardiness zone?

Characteristics and Attributes for Viburnum betulifolium

Season of Interest (Flowering)

  • Spring

Season of Interest (Foliage)

  • Spring / Summer / Autumn

Autumn Interest

  • Fruit / Berries / Seed Heads
  • Autumn Leaf Color

Nature Attraction

  • Songbirds
  • Deer Resistant
  • Honey Bees & Native Bees

Light

  • Full Sun
  • Mostly Sunny

Attributes

  • Specimen
  • Shrub Border
  • Wildlife Garden
  • Hedge
  • Hedgerow

Growth Rate in the Garden

  • Moderately Fast

Soil

  • Fertile

Origins

  • China

Propagated By

  • Cutting Grown

Genus Overview: Viburnum

Common Name: Viburnum

This genus is full of fantastic, multi-season garden worthy shrubs. Spring flowers, often large and showy, many with heady sweet fragrance are arranged in cymes. Flowers are followed with berries. If late season and autumn berries are desired then planting two of a species will ensure fruit set; for instance, Viburnum dilatatum 'Erie' and V. dilatatum 'Michael Dodge' will pollinate each other and produce fruit; V. nudum 'Winterthur' and V. nudum var. angustifolium will cross with each other. But V. nudum is very closely allied with V. cassinoides and all of these will cross pollinate and provide late season fruit. Another interesting example is V. lantana which crosses with V. burejaeticum and vice versa. Any V. plicatum selection such as 'Shasta' will pollinate with all other V. plicatum selections. But if you were to plant two 'Shasta' side by side with no other V. plicatum in near proximity then your effort will be fruitless. The berries are magnificent and so welcome in the late season garden. And they feed all manner of birds. Larger, denser shrubs provide cover and nesting opportunities. Nearly all Viburnum have terrific autumn foliage colors, too. Viburnums are members of Caprifoliaceae. All prefer part to full sun and fertile soils. All are cutting grown.