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VIBURNUM lantanoides

Image of Viburnum lantanoides

Jesse Saylor

Family

Caprifoliaceae

Botanical Name

VIBURNUM lantanoides

Plant Common Name

Hobblebush, Witch-hobble

Special Notice

This entry has yet to be reviewed and approved by L2G editors.

General Description

Foliage, flower and fruit all make the rather unkempt-looking hobblebush an ornamentally interesting shrub. Native to the woodlands of southeastern Canada into the eastern United States as far south as the southern Appalachians, hobblebush spreads by rooting branches. The shrub seemingly hobbles across the landscape over the year as the long arching branch tips reach the ground and the root to form a thicket of plants. This deciduous shrub lacks symmetry and may not be a good choice for tidy, formal garden settings.

The flat clusters of flowers appear on branch tips in mid-spring. Tiny white fertile flowers occur in the cluster center, with occasional sterile flowers, with much larger white petals to attract the attention of insect pollinators, on the outer edge of the cluster. Small round red fruits occur later, ripening to black. The broadly oval to heart-like leaves are large. They're hairy on their undersides and mainly on the vein creases on the top side. While medium green in spring and summer, the onset of cool midsummer nights starts an early transformation to display rose or faint burgundy foliage. In the chill of autumn, leaves become a rich dark red or dull, creamy wine tint.

Hobblebush excels in moist, fertile, organic-rich soils that are acidic. Average to poor drainage isn't a problem. It's best in partial sun to dappled shade areas under trees or building shadows. The best use of this shrub is as a naturalistic accent or thicket in a woodland garden. For abundant fruit production, plant several different plants to maximize cross-pollination. Hobblebush maintains good health and is longer lived in regions with cold winters and not-too-warm summers.

Cultivar 'Serenity' grows with a slightly less mangy or wildly floppy habit while 'Praecox' tends to bloom about three weeks before the standard type of hobblebush.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    6 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 6

  • Sunset Zone

    A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade, Full Shade

  • Height

    8'-12' / 2.4m - 3.7m

  • Width

    10'-15' / 3.0m - 4.6m

  • Bloom Time

    Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, North-Central United States, Canada

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Tolerances

    Wet Site

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Thicket/Colonizing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Purple, Black

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Burgundy, Dark Red

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No