Doublefile Viburnum

Learn about the multi-season beauty of Viburnum mariesii.

By: Julie A Martens

Check out what most experts agree is one of the most beautiful viburnum shrubs available. Doublefile viburnum earns rave reviews for its strong horizontal branches topped with two rows of blossoms in spring. That’s why it’s called doublefile viburnum. Also known as Viburnum mariesii, viburnum doublefile is a true showstopper in the landscape. It tends to be large, so if you need a smaller version, look to ‘Summer Snowflake’ viburnum. You won’t go wrong adding viburnum mariesii to your yard.

Planting doublefile viburnum is a sure way to become the envy of the neighborhood. The show starts in spring, when clusters of white laceap type blossoms blanket branches. Doublefile viburnum flower clusters usually measure 2 to 4 inches across, although some occasionally stretch up to 6 inches wide. The flowers form in double rows along the branches and are visited by pollinators, including many bee species.

Viburnum ‘Summer Snowflake’ opens flowers that are slightly smaller. On ‘Snowflake’ viburnum, a strong flower show in spring is followed by sporadic summer blooming. The summer flowers gave rise to the name ‘Summer Snowflake’ viburnum.

Viburnum mariesii blossoms fade to form bright red fruits that ripen to black. The fruits bring a festive feel standing along branches above the leaves. Fruits also beckon birds by the dozen, looking for a beak-pleasing treat. ‘Summer Snowflake’ viburnum tends to form less fruit that’s smaller and not as showy.

Fall brings a beauty all its own as shades of burgundy and reddish purple take over the green hues of doublefile viburnum leaves. On Viburnum ‘Summer Snowflake,’ the autumn show can feature fall leaf color accented by a smattering of flowers and fruits. After leaves drop and winter arrives, doublefile viburnum branches take center stage when snow blankets them. Viburnum mariesii delivers multi-season interest that’s over the top.

Doublefile viburnum does need room to spread. Left unpruned, it forms a shrub that’s 10 to 12 feet tall and 12 to 15 feet wide. It’s a real spreader with strong horizontal branches. The branches are a vital part of mariesii viburnum’s charm. The branch arrangement effectively displays flowers and fruits, as well as colorful fall leaves. In winter, the branch structure adds artistic symmetry to plantings.

In smaller spaces, gardeners often prune doublefile viburnum, removing the lower branches to expose the trunk and create a small tree-like form. The tree form of Viburnum mariesii is beautiful, too, and leaves plenty of space beneath for planting perennials. Or, choose ‘Summer Snowflake’ viburnum for a smaller plant that grows 5 to 8 feet tall.

Doublefile viburnum and Viburnum ‘Snowflake’ are hardy in Zones 5 to 8. Give either a spot in full sun to part shade with soil that’s moist but drains well. You’ll see best growth and flowering when Viburnum mariesii receives consistent moisture. Prune as needed immediately after flowering.

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