April: Korean Spice Viburnum

Korean Spice Viburnum is a slow-growing, medium sized viburnum bearing fragrant spring flowers in showy clusters that appear pink when the buds are closed but fade to white when in full bloom. The strong spicy-sweet smell is noticeable from several feet away even in a wide open space.

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org, Rüdiger Wölk, Münster

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org, Rüdiger Wölk, Münster

Korean Spice Viburnum (sometimes written as Koreanspice instead of two separate words) is a member of the large and popular viburnum family. There are more than 100 plants in the genus and more than a dozen species (plus countless varieties) used in the landscape, including some native species. Viburnums produce attractive clusters of white flowers. These flowers usually give way to red berries that change to black or dark blue later in the season. Beyond these similarities, viburnum species don't have a lot in common. They range in size from dense shrubs about two feet tall to larger species reaching twenty feet tall that blur the line between shrubs and trees. Some are known for dark, heavy, glossy leaves while others are valued for brighter green foliage that moves in the breeze. Flowering time can be in spring or summer, and only some are fragrant. Some lose their berries early while others hold onto them well into the fall. Autumn color is highly variable. For Korean Spice Viburnum, leaves typically turn a dark red in the fall. Some years the color may be quite striking, but it usually doesn't demand attention.

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Image source: commons.wikimedia.org

Common Name: Korean Spice Viburnum

Scientific Name: Viburnum carlesii

Notable Varieties: 'Aurora' (flowers are light pink when fully open), 'Compactum' (smaller variety)

Light: full sun to light shade

Size: 4'-6' tall and wide ('Compactum' is only 2.5'-4' tall and wide)

Soil: tolerant of many conditions, but does not like soggy soil

Blooms: 3" clusters of pink buds opening to white flowers in April, strongly fragrant

Other Notes: prune immediately after flowering so you don't disrupt the following season's flower development; attracts butterflies and birds; can be planted under black walnuts

See other plants of the month.

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