Viburnum Pragense

Need a fast growing viburnum for a hedge? Check out Prague viburnum. 

By: Julie A Martens

Consider planting Viburnum pragense the next time you’re in need of a hedge and want a plant with year-round interest. Pragense viburnum has glossy evergreen leaves accented by white flowers in spring and berries from summer through early winter. Viburnum is a fast grower and quickly fills in to form a living screen.

Viburnum pragense originates from a nursery in Prague. It’s actually the result of a cross between Viburnum rhytidophyllum and Viburnum utile that was done at the Prague Municipal Gardens in what was then the Czech Republic. Viburnum pragense is hardy in Zones 5 to 8. It’s evergreen throughout most of the growing range, although plants in the northernmost areas may drop leaves in winter. Typically Viburnum pragense survives to minus 17 F with no bud or stem damage, although leaf burn is pretty severe at those low temperatures.

One thing Viburnum pragense brings to the viburnum party is striking evergreen leaves. Like one of its parents, Viburnum x rhytidophyllum, Viburnum pragense leaves have deep veins that produce a puckered pattern on the leaf surfaces. The leaves are glossy and deep green with felted gray backs. The combination is eye-catching when the wind blows.

Viburnum pragense opens creamy white to palest pink blooms that measure 3 to 6 inches across. Flowers attract all kinds of insects, including beneficial ones like bees and predatory wasps. If pollinated, blossoms form berries that shift from red to glossy black, lingering on plants into early winter.

In coldest regions, Viburnum pragense plants may drop leaves over winter. If this occurs, wait until spring is well underway before cutting stems back. If leaves don’t appear, cut stems to the ground. Stems won’t bloom that year, but flowers should appear the following spring. 

A fast grower, Viburnum pragense withstands pruning easily and actually benefits from it. Pruning side branches causes the plant to develop a more densely branched interior. Topping the plant also works well to encourage interior branching and a fuller plant. Left unpruned, Viburnum pragense grows to 10 feet tall by 8 to 10 feet wide.

One of the favorite ways to use Viburnum pragense in the landscape is as a hedge, although the plants can hold their own as a specimen shrub. It thrives in fertile, moist, well-drained soil. Full sun to dappled shade works well, although Viburnum pragense definitely benefits from shade in the Deep South.

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