Botanical  Name: Viburnum

This week I purposely did not fill in the full botanical name in the heading to the article because there are many similar ones that you can choose from. The idea is to have flowers at this otherwise cold and flowerless time of the year, so it is important to avoid the many other species of viburnum that flower during spring and summer.  The varieties that flower are deciduous so all we have to look at are twigs and flowers – no leaves – bare and beautiful.

Varieties of winter flowering viburnum

 Viburnum Farreri

Has a RHS Award of Garden Merit, and will flower in late Autumn, again in early spring and during mild spells through the winter.

Viburnum Foetens

viburnumThis is most probably the one that is pictured here, bears its flowers during the depth of winter and continues flowering into the spring.

Both of the above bear tubular flowers in small clusters along there stems they are usually pink or white. Although the scent is strong the flowers clusters are small.

Virburnum species with larger flower clusters

 Viburnum x bodnantense

This variety is a cross between Viburnum farreri and Viburnum Grandiflorum (as the x in its name implies ), it has much larger clusters of flowers and some varieties have a strong pink colour.

Although the ultimate height of the bush is around 3m, it will flower long before this height and it can be annually pruned to keep it as a lower bush. During spring, glossy linear leaves emerge, which can mistake them for an evergreen leaf but as autumn approaches you will be proven otherwise. The first two species listed will bear small spherical blue berries in the Autumn, but don’t expect any fruit on the hybrid bodnantnense.

Which viburnum should I buy?

The most common winter flowering Viburnum available is Viburnum x bodnantense-Dawn ,and as it holds a RHS Award of Garden Merit it is one of the best. The pink flowers  fade to white with age and are born in large clusters. Thompson and Morgan sell a single 9cm pot @ £9.99  and 3 for £19.99.  (A saving of £9.98).  J. Parkers sell a single 9cm pot @ £6.99 and 2 for £11.99. (A saving of only £1.99, but which is better value for your money?!)


Boris Legarni.