Viburnum macrocephalum
Common Name: Chinese snowball viburnum 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Adoxaceae
Native Range: Southeastern China
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist, acidic loams, but tolerates a wide range of soils. Mature plants generally have some drought tolerance. Prune as needed immediately after flowering. This shrub is not reliably winter hardy throughout the St. Louis area where it should be planted in a sheltered location protected from strong winds.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Viburnum macrocephalum, commonly called Chinese snowball viburnum, is native to China. It is a rounded, vase-shaped shrub that typically matures to 6-10' tall in the St. Louis area, but may reach 15-20’ tall in the warmer climates of the deep South. Non-fragrant, sterile florets (each to 1 1/4" wide) bloom in dense globose clusters (to 5-8" wide) in May to early June. Florets emerge lime green, but quickly turn white. Pubescent, finely-toothed, ovate to elliptic, dark green leaves (to 2-4” long) are deciduous in the northern parts of its growing range, but semi-evergreen in the southern parts of its growing range. Flowers are sterile, therefore no fruit is produced. Viburnum macrocephalum var. keteleeri is the wild form which has both sterile and fertile florets.

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

Specific epithet means large-headed.


No serious insect or disease problems. Good resistance to bacterial leaf spots and powdery mildew.


Specimen or groups. Shrub borders, foundations, hedges or screens.