Viburnum davidii – winter colour

They really are this blue

Viburnum davidii¹ are one of my favourite exotic shrubs, I’ve always loved their deeply grooved, hard leaves and their blue winter fruits. They make a great low windbreak to about 1.5 metres and are simply an all-round pleasing and reliable shrub in most conditions down to about -10°C – zone 7\8.

You need to ensure you obtain female plants, else you won’t get berries – the most reliable way to do this is visit the nursery when they are fruiting, or only buy from very trustworthy nurseries. They are best left unpruned unless you really know what you are doing.

Viburnum davidii as GC low 825 (1200x900)
They make a useful groundcover if clipped – here alongside native Cordyline Red Fountain

Davidii may be of use in organic horticulture as they provide a refuge for several predatory mites. A good place to start with this is Overwintering and Comparative Sampling of Neoseiulus fallacis on Ornamental Nursery Plants researchgate link 190Kb

Same plants as in first image when they were younger

This paper A chloroplast tree for viburnum (2.8Mb) covers current understanding of relationships within the genus Viburnum. There’s some wonderful images here from leaf level downward as well as seeing plant relationships presented graphically – this sort of info is vital when one wants to use a new plant, or an old plant in a new situation and need a guide as to how it could fit.

Looking across their flower heads – building is the Invercargill wintergarden house

1 – Viburnum has recently been placed in the Adoxaceae family and sits alongside Sambucus \ the elders.

3 thoughts on “Viburnum davidii – winter colour

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    1. Your’e probably zone 9; they might work if you can locate them on the permanently shaded side of a building with colder soils etc.

      A blog I found useful for microclimate creation is Michael Shugart’s Fruits and Votes especially (2005). This was at Bonsall inland from Camp Pendleton, unfortunately they went into a long drought and had to move but for a number of years produced stone fruit. Michael’s a pol scientist at UC Davis and a fruit grower.

      1. Oh, I know about microclimates, and we have plenty here. There are just many plants that we ca not figure out, including some of the viburnums, gardenia, peony (which can actually grow in some spots) and hellebores. They all should grow here, but do not, and we can not figure out why.

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