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VIBURNUM opulus 'Sterile'

Image of Viburnum opulus 'Sterile'

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Caprifoliaceae

Botanical Name

VIBURNUM opulus 'Sterile'

Plant Common Name

European Cranberrybush, Snowball Bush

General Description

Snowball bush produces large white pompoms of flowers in spring that slowly fade to gentle shades of pink with age. These flowers are sterile and do not form the bright red fruits typical of the species. In autumn its soft green maple-leaf like leaves flush red orange and also purple. This fall coloring is generally more robust than the species. This heirloom cultivar was being grown in its native Europe early in the 16th century.

Snowball bush must be planted in a humus rich, moist and well-drained soil in full to partial sun. It is slow to establish, but is an overall fast grower. In humid climates, ample air circulation around this shrub is needed to curb powdery mildew. Moreover, avoid crowding this shrub with nearby plants for the same reason. The plant can be pruned back sharply if needed.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    8 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 8

  • Sunset Zone

    A2, A3, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    8'-12' / 2.4m - 3.7m

  • Width

    8'-12' / 2.4m - 3.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Late Spring, Early Summer

  • Native To

    Europe, Northern Africa, Central Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Average

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White, Light Pink

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow, Red, Purple

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Feature Plant, Foundation, Hedges, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes