Nicole Stoner, Nebraska Extension Educator, provides a monthly feature on plants to consider for your acreage. This month Nicole will feature a great selection for beauty and fragrance, Korean spice Viburnum.
March is a great time of the year. Spring will officially begin this month. The weather is starting to warm up, the birds are chirping again, and the plants are starting to come out of dormancy. The Viburnums are all included in a great list of spring blooming shrubs. The early spring blooming viburnums are more fragrant than the later blooming viburnums, so a good choice for great scent would be Korean spice Viburnum.
Korean spice Viburnum, Viburnum carlesii, grows up to 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide. The leaves are oppositely arranged on the stem with simple, elliptical-shaped leaves that are 1-4 inches long and toothed along the edges. The leaves are fuzzy on the top side and a dark green color with a paler green color and no pubescence on the underside of the leaves. The flowers bloom in mid-spring, around March or April. The flowers are first borne on the plant with pink buds that open up to white flowers that are 1.5-2 inches wide and are held in a large, dense cluster. The flowers are very sweetly scented to have a "spicy" fragrance. The scent is very strong and appealing to many. The Korean spice viburnum flowers image below is by John Fech, Nebraska Extension.
There are other varieties to choose from that mainly change the size of the plant. There is a hybrid Viburnum x juddii that is a larger version of the Korean spice with the nicely scented flowers. Judd Viburnum grows up to 6-8 feet tall. 'Aurora' is another great larger version if you have a large space to fill. 'Aurora' Viburnum also grows to 6-8 feet tall. There are also some dwarf versions of the Korean spice viburnum if you want a plant that is smaller rather than larger. 'Compacta' is a smaller version that grows only to 4 feet tall if you have a more confined space to plant into.
Korean spice Viburnum grows well in many locations. It can grow in full sun to part shade to almost complete shade. However, it may not bloom as well in the shade. It does not tolerate high pH soils or poorly drained soils. It prefers well drained soils that have good fertility. It can be used as a specimen plant, in a grouping as a border due to the size, or somewhere for the amazing fragrance. Korean spice Viburnum shrubs are attractive to pollinators including bees and butterflies. So they can be an asset to your landscape for that reason.
Korean spice Viburnum provides any landscape with a sweet, spicy fragrance in the spring. It is a treat in the early spring to remind you of the joys of spring and summer. It is also a beautiful shrub that provides privacy to a lawn and due to the size, it can provide some protection within a larger windbreak. So the next time you look for a shrub for a specimen plant or to place in a windbreak or other border, choose one that also provides beauty and interest, choose Korean spice Viburnum.