Arrowwood Viburnum

Need a hedge or screen? Check out Viburnum dentatum — it’s the perfect plant for the job.

By: Julie A Martens

Include a native plant in your landscape like arrowwood viburnum — it doesn’t disappoint. Known in botanical circles as Viburnum dentatum, arrowwood viburnum offers a host of varieties to add color and snap to a garden. Blue Muffin viburnum (Viburnum dentatum Blue Muffin) is a favorite. Arrowwood viburnum, including Blue Muffin viburnum, ripens blue berries in late summer.

Arrowwood viburnum gets its name from the fact that Native American tribes used the straight branches of this shrub to make arrow shafts. Viburnum dentatum is native from Maine to Florida, east to Texas and north to Iowa. It typically grows in areas with full sun to part shade in average, well-drained soil. It’s common in woodland settings and at forest edges, as well as in open meadow areas and hillsides. Include arrowwood viburnum in a naturalized setting, or use it to form a loose screen.

Viburnum dentatum grows 6 to 10 feet tall and wide. It has a tendency to send up suckers, which causes it to form loose thickets. You can keep the suckering in check by snipping stems as they appear, or by planting smaller varieties that grow more slowly. Blue Muffin viburnum fits that bill, growing 3 to 5 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. 

You can reliably count on arrowwood viburnum to provide two strong seasons of interest. Spring flowers are white and appear in clusters that measure two to four inches across. Some people find the fragrance of Viburnum dentatum on the strong, almost offensive side. This is one viburnum you want to smell before you plant it close to your entries or outdoor living areas.

The leaves on arrowwood viburnum are densely spaced and have a strong vein pattern, which makes them almost ruffled. They’re eye-catching on their own and really take center stage in autumn. The fall color on arrowwood viburnum tends toward yellow, red and purple. Autumn color provides a pretty contrast to the ripening fruits, which are blue to black and attractive to birds.

In the garden, consider using arrowwood viburnum as a hedge or privacy screen. It also provides a fantastic backdrop for perennials or shrub borders. The size makes it an easy fit in foundation planting designs, or count on arrowwood viburnum’s fall color to provide a pop in a landscape each autumn.

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