Viburnums are a large and varied group of shrubs that range in size from two to 20 feet in height. Some viburnum species are grown primarily for their showy and often fragrant flowers, attractive fruit or fall foliage color. Some of these shrubs do not bloom or produce fruit, but produce attractive summer foliage and fall color.
Perhaps the most well-known viburnum is the old-fashioned snowball bush. This one has white flowers in late May. It is sterile and does not produce fruit. It can become pretty large- 15 to 20 feet -and is very prone to aphids, which distort the leaves. A few other viburnums are commonly grown along Colorado’s Front Range.
Burkwood viburnum is six to eight feet tall with fragrant white flowers, sparse fruit and green foliage through most of thewinter.
Wayfaring tree viburnum grows 10 to 12 feet tall. It is very tough and adaptable with leathery foliage and red fruit which turns black. It has purplish fall color.
Mohican viburnum is eight to 10 feet tall and is very similar to wayfaring tree viburnum but with a longer display of red fruit.
Alleghany viburnum is also eight to 10 feet tall. It has distinctive dark green, leathery foliage that may turn purple in fall but remains on the shrub through winter.
Nannyberry viburnum grows 12 to 15 feet and produces blue fruit. It turns reddish-purple in the fall.
American and European cranberrybushes grow eight to 10 feet tall. They produce white flowers and cranberry-like fruit. European cranberrybush is more susceptible to aphid than American cranberrybush.
For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).