Viburnum opulus 'Nanum'
Common Name: European cranberrybush 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Adoxaceae
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Non-flowering
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge


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.

'Nanum' is a dwarf, low-growing, densely branched, deciduous shrub which typically matures to 2' tall with a similar spread. It is a non-flowering and non-fruiting cultivar. Three-lobed, maple leaf-like, dark green leaves (to 4" long). Somewhat mediocre greenish to reddish purple fall color.


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.

Susceptable to crown gall.


Excellent low hedge which rarely needs trimming. Foundation plant or border filler.