Viburnum 'Royal Guard'
Common Name: rusty blackhaw viburnum 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Adoxaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 8.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Fruit: Showy, Edible


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained loams in full sun to part shade. Plants generally grow denser in full sun, but in the St. Louis area may do best with some light afternoon shade. Species plants are self-incompatible, meaning that another cultivar or seed-grown species plant should be planted nearby for pollination and subsequent fruit production to occur. Promptly remove root suckers to prevent colonial spread unless naturalization is desired.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Viburnum is a genus of about 150 species of deciduous, evergreen and semi-evergreen shrubs and a few trees from chiefly North Temperate regions extending into Southeast Asia and South America. They are grown for their attractive flowers, colorful fruit and attractive foliage. Some species have edible fruit or fragrant flowers. They are very attractive, versatile garden plants.

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

‘Royal Guard’ is primarily noted for its narrow upright habit and glossy leaves that turn burgundy in fall. It features dark green elliptic to oval leathery leaves (to 4” long) that are lustrous above and attractive throughout the growing season. Leaf undersides, buds and young stems are covered with rusty brown hairs. One of the easiest ways to distinguish this plant from the similar black haw (V. prunifolium) is the presence of rusty brown hairs. Tiny flowers in showy rounded cymes (to 5” across) bloom in spring. Flowers are followed by clusters of edible blue berries (to 3/8” long) that ripen in September to October. Birds are attracted to the fruit. Foliage turns an attractive burgundy in fall.


Potential disease problems include bacterial leaf spot, mildews and crown gall. Potential insect problems include aphids and scale. Deer tend to avoid this plant.


Shrub for mixed borders or foundation plantings. Specimen. Screen or hedge.