Viburnum Macrocephalum

Shine the spotlight on a stunning floral favorite, Chinese snowball viburnum.

By: Julie A Martens
Related To:

Bring on the charm with a Southern favorite, Chinese snowball viburnum. This old-fashioned beauty holds its own in many Southern yards, opening softball size blooms in spring. Botanically speaking, Chinese viburnum is Viburnum macrocephalum. The flowers resemble hydrangea blossoms, but this shrub is one hundred percent viburnum.

Like other viburnum shrub, Chinese snowball viburnum is a low maintenance addition to any landscape. It grows with few demands, and once it’s established, it’s drought tolerant. Viburnum macrocephalum is versatile in the landscape, able to segue easily from specimen shrub in the spotlight to part of a mixed border plant chorus.

One of the best ways to showcase Chinese snowball viburnum is planted in groups to form a hedge. In that arrangement, Viburnum macrocephalum really shines. The larger than life flowerheads command attention and add color for several weeks, lasting longest in regions with cooler summers. Chinese snowball viburnum flowers open in clusters that are more or less softball size—roughly 5 to 8 inches across.

The globes of bloom first open in shades of green, then fade to cream before finally turning white. Because the color progression happens with each individual blossom in the cluster, you’ll often see every hue present in one Chinese snowball viburnum flower cluster. These flowers are all sterile, which means that no fruit forms when the blooms fade.

Even though no fruits are present to beckon birds, the dense branching does lure birds to Chinese snowball viburnum for nesting and resting. Many kind of insects flock to the blooms to harvest nectar. Leaves remain evergreen to semi-evergreen in southern locations, while Viburnum macrocephalum plants in areas with colder winters drop leaves in fall.

Chinese snowball viburnum is hardy in Zones 5 to 8. It’s a Southern classic, but can also grow in colder places like Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania and parts of the Midwest. In the more northern locations where winter brings on the cold, place Chinese snowball viburnum in a protected location to help prevent drying by winter winds. Give plants soil that’s acidic and moist but well-drained.

Plant size in viburnum macrocephalum varies based on where it’s growing. In general, Chinese snowball viburnum grows 6 to 12 feet tall and wide. In warm Southern and western locations it grows much larger, up to 15 to 20 feet high. This viburnum takes well to pruning, and many gardeners remove lower branches to create a single trunk or tree form Chinese snowball viburnum.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Viburnum Onondaga

Discover one of the showiest viburnums with strong multi-season interest.

Viburnum Opulus

Unravel the mystery of cranberrybush viburnum, which goes by a host of names. Learn which one you want for your landscape.

Viburnum Lantana

Celebrate viburnum berries with the colorful fruit of Mohican viburnum.

Viburnum Berries

Learn the trick to getting your viburnums to produce berries. 

Diseases That Affect Viburnum

Learn which diseases you should keep an eye out for on your viburnums.

Viburnum Juddii

Kick off spring with the intensely fragrant blooms of Judd viburnum.

Viburnum Rufidulum

Discover the beauty of an outstanding native viburnum that deserves a place in any landscape.

Pruning Viburnum

Learn what you need to know to tackle viburnum pruning with confidence.

Viburnum Obovatum

Tap into the native beauty and easy-growing nature of Walter’s viburnum.

Dwarf Viburnum

Fall in love with compact versions of your favorite viburnums.

On TV

Breakneck Builds

7:30am | 6:30c

Rehab Addict

8:30am | 7:30c

Rehab Addict

9:30am | 8:30c

Rehab Addict

10am | 9c

Rehab Addict

10:30am | 9:30c

Rehab Addict

11am | 10c

Rehab Addict

11:30am | 10:30c

Big Beach Builds

12:30pm | 11:30c

Big Beach Builds

1:30pm | 12:30c

Big Beach Builds

2:30pm | 1:30c

Big Beach Builds

3:30pm | 2:30c

Big Beach Builds

4:30pm | 3:30c

Big Beach Builds

5:30pm | 4:30c

Big Beach Renos

6:30pm | 5:30c

Stone House Revival

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Stone House Revival

8pm | 7c

Stone House Revival

8:30pm | 7:30c

Stone House Revival

9:30pm | 8:30c

Wood Work

10pm | 9c

Wood Work

10:30pm | 9:30c

Wood Work

11pm | 10c

Wood Work

11:30pm | 10:30c

Stone House Revival

12:30am | 11:30c

Wood Work

1am | 12c

Wood Work

1:30am | 12:30c

Wood Work

2am | 1c

Wood Work

2:30am | 1:30c

Stone House Revival

3:30am | 2:30c

Back Flip

4:30am | 3:30c

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.