If you’re looking for a shrub that’s easy to care for and more than a one-trick pony, look no further than the winterthur viburnum. Much more than just a flowering shrub, this plant will provide excitement during all of the seasons with its flowers, foliage, and fruit. In addition to being a feast for the eyes, the berries of Winterthur viburnum will also feed hungry birds in winter.
Also called witherod viburnum, winterthur viburnum is hardy between zones 5 and 9. A compact shrub, Winterthur viburnum reaches a mature height and spread of about five to seven feet. Its flowers, which appear in spring, are fragrant and creamy white and its foliage is ovate and incredibly glossy throughout the growing season. The real show begins in fall, however, when the green berries produced by the flowers start to ripen, turning to pink, then to blue, and finally to purple. The foliage also offers a colorful show, turning from green to deep, rich red.
Winterthur viburnum will do well in part shade, full sun, and anywhere in between, although the more sun the plant gets, the better its foliage color will be. Soil conditions should be wet to slightly dry and preferably neutral to slightly acidic; winterthur viburnums dislike alkaline soils. Dig a hole twice as wide and equally as deep as the root ball. Loosen roots and place plant in the center of the hole, then backfill with existing soil, amending if soil quality is poor. Mound soil at the edges of the hole to form a basin, then water well and mulch. Plant near other viburnum cultivars for the best fruiting display.
Winterthur viburnum forms a naturally pleasing shape, so pruning won’t be necessary. Feed your plant in early spring with an all purpose fertilizer or top dress with compost. Sometimes Viburnum bark beetles can be a problem, so check regularly for signs of damage. Remove affected portion and bring to your nursery or local cooperative extension center for treatment advice.