Viburnum odoratissimum var. awabuki

Common Name: sweet viburnum 
Type: Broadleaf evergreen
Family: Adoxaceae
Native Range: India, Burma, China to Japan and Philippines
Zone: 7 to 9
Height: 12.00 to 18.00 feet
Spread: 12.00 to 18.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to July
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Evergreen
Attracts: Birds, Butterflies
Other: Winter Interest


Winter hardy to USDA Zones 7-9 where it is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best growth occurs with consistent and even moisture. This is an evergreen shrub, but it tends to be semi-evergreen to deciduous near the far northern edge of its growing range. Plants generally appreciate some afternoon shade in hot summer climates. If growth is attempted in USDA Zone 6, plants should be sited in protected locations and given a good winter mulch.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Viburnum odoratissimum, commonly called sweet viburnum, is an evergreen shrub or small tree that grows to as much as 20' tall. It is native from the Himalayas to Japan. Common name is in obvious reference to its fragrant funnel-shaped white flowers which bloom in conical terminal panicles (to 3-6" long) in late spring to early summer. Flowers give way to single-seeded red fruits (drupes) which mature to black. Fruits are attractive to birds. Thick, leathery, elliptic-ovate olive green leaves (to 3-8" long) are evergreen.

Var. awabuki is native to Taiwan and Japan. It grows to a slightly more compact 12' tall on stems clad with large, ovate-lanceolate leaves with extremely glossy upper surfaces (leaves of V. odoratissimum are generally dull green with little gloss).

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

Specific epithet means very fragrant.


No serious insect or disease problems. Potential disease problems include bacterial leaf spot, mildews and crown gall. Potential insect problems include aphids and scale.


Broadleaf evergreen shrub for informal hedges, screens, barriers, foundations, borders or open woodland areas. Fragrant late spring flowers, fall fruit and evergreen foliage make this an interesting and attractive landscape shrub.