Viburnum Davidii

Learn about David viburnum, a low growing shrub with eye-catching texture.

By: Julie A Martens

Discover the shortest member of the viburnum shrub family. Viburnum davidii grows in a small mound, reaching at most 24 to 36 inches high. David viburnum hails from China, discovered in the 1860s by a Jesuit missionary, Jean Pierre Armand David. Today Davidii viburnum is a favorite landscape shrub in the Pacific Northwest, where the weather delivers the moderate conditions it needs to thrive.

Viburnum davidii is evergreen in mild climates, which is a gift considering how attractive the leaves are. On this viburnum shrub, leaves have three distinct veins that produce a puckered look. It’s very unusual and makes David viburnum a nice piece of eye candy in the landscape. The other part of its appearance that’s outstanding are the berries.

Like most viburnums, Viburnum davidii flowers in spring, opening white blooms arranged in small clusters. The flowers themselves aren’t large or a big draw. After flowers fade, berries can form that start green, then shift to pink, red and finally a bright turquoise blue. Berries linger into winter, although the strong color fades over time.

To get berry formation on Viburnum davidii, you need two plants grown from two different batches of cuttings. The only way you’ll know if you have what you need is by growing the shrubs and seeing if berries form. If the plants bloom and no berries occur, you may need to order a plant from a nursery located in a different region. That’s the safest way to assure you’ll get plants grown from different parent plants than what you already have.

Viburnum davidii is hardy in Zones 7 to 9. It does need a consistent moisture supply to thrive. You can plant David viburnum shrub in full sun to deep shade. It definitely benefits from shade during the hottest part of the day in warmer areas. At the northern edges of its range, plants tend to drop leaves in winter. In milder areas, Viburnum davidii remains reliably evergreen.

This compact viburnum shrub is a great choice for a foundation planting, provided you place it where it will receive rainfall and not beneath a roof overhang. You can also use Viburnum davidii to create an informal hedge or as part of a naturalized woodland planting. Some gardeners like to plant David viburnum as a ground cover, massing several of the shrubs together. This creates a striking look, especially when tucked into a shady area where the white blooms sparkle in the low light.

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