Viburnum opulus 'Roseum'
Common Name: European cranberrybush
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Adoxaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 10.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 12.00 to 14.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: White fading to pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Butterflies

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers loams with consistent moisture, but tolerates a wide range of soils. Species plants sometimes grow in wet or boggy soils in its native habitat. Prune as needed immediately after flowering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Viburnum opulus, commonly called European cranberry bush, is a highbush cranberry that is native to Europe, Asia and N. Africa. It is a deciduous shrub with a rounded spreading habit that typically grows to 10-15’ tall. It features lacecap-type white flowers in spring in flat-topped 3” wide cymes of tiny fertile florets surrounded by larger sterile florets, drooping clusters of cranberry-like red berries (drupes) in fall and three lobed, maple-like, dark green leaves. The berries (drupes) are technically edible, but are very bitter in taste and are not recommended for eating fresh off the shrub. Fruits tend to shrivel after frost. Foliage turns a sometimes attractive purplish red in fall. This plant has escaped gardens and naturalized in parts of the northeastern and Midwestern U.S. north into Canada.

Genus name comes from the Latin name of a species plant.

It should be noted that highbush cranberry is a common name often used to describe three different viburnums (elderberry family) that produce cranberry-like fruit: (1) V. opulus described here, (2) V. opulus var. americanum and (3) V. edule. The true cranberry that is grown commercially for food (Vaccinium macrocarpon) is an unrelated member of the heath family.

'Roseum’ is a sterile cultivar (no fertile florets and no cranberry-like fruit) that produces 3” diameter pom-pom-like globular inflorescences (snowballs) of entirely sterile white flowers. Flowers bloom in May. Flowers acquire light rose flushing as they fade, hence the cultivar name of ‘Roseum’. Plants typically grow to 10-12’ tall with a rounded form. Sugar-maple like leaves are a soft green, generally becoming orange-red in fall. ‘Roseum’ is sold under a large number of common names. The common name of European snowball bush has been selected herein because ‘Roseum’ produces no cranberry-like fruit as suggested by the common name for the species (European cranberry bush). ‘Roseum’ is synonymous with and sometimes sold in commerce as V. opulus ‘Sterile’.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Watch for aphids. Viburnum crown borer can cause stem dieback. Some susceptibility to bacterial leaf spot, stem blight and powdery mildew.

Garden Uses

Shrub borders or foundations. Woodland margins. Hedge or screen.