The page in the catalog was so enticing, showing several Viburnum ssp. loaded with colorful berries (drupes). Who could resist that temptation when there was a blank, sunny space in between the Yellow/White Garden and the Black Garden that needed planting? There was to be a sort of berry-filled hedge to divide the two color themed garden beds. The emphasis was to be on wildlife, the allure of the fruits was undeniable for birds and human enjoyment, so was the thinking. We needed some winter interest. Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’, Viburnum dentatum ‘Blue Muffin’, Viburnum dilatatum ‘Cardinal Candy’ and the escort to help with berry production, Viburnum nudum ‘Brandywine’ were ordered from Wayside Gardens in 2007.
As usual, the shrubs arrived the size of a packet of pencils but there was plenty of hope for their future. The future has arrived, five years later. Research confirmed the poor berry production for Blue Muffin, it was also too large for the space. It was dug out to make room for better candidates. The Cardinal Candys, three were purchased, grew the fastest and have been limbed up to allow for planting room underneath. The above photo shows the numerous berries on just one of the three standards.
The two Vibernum nudums are finally getting larger, with the Cardinals pruned to basketball sized lollipops on sticks now. Before, they were shading out the slower growing Brandywine and Winterthur. There are clusters of berries on all, with the nudums turning from whitish, to pinkish, to darker pinkish to dark blue very quickly. Cardinal Candy has red berries.
Some facts about Viburnum nudum:
Size: 6 feet tall x 3 or more feet wide
Light: Full sun to part shade
Blooms: White flowers in spring, not showy (especially when there is an explosion of other flowerings going on)
Moisture: Adaptable, well drained
Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-9
Common names: possumhaw Viburnum, smooth witherod
Native to the Eastern and Southeastern US
Brandywine is somewhat smaller
Foliage: Shiny, elliptical leaves 3 to 4 inches long
Fruit set is better with at least two different cultivars. Some say that Brandywine will fruit without a partner, but that Winterthur will not. I planted both at the same time, along with Cardinal Candy, so don’t really know. I do know that Blue Muffin fruited very poorly, even though it was planted with these others, so it was removed.
Along with these coral pink berries that turn to indigo, Viburnum nudum also has beautiful fall color, turning a mahogany red. If a nice photo can be taken that substantiates the fall beauty, it will be added to this post.