Sweet viburnum

Viburnum odoratissum.
Viburnum odoratissum. / Wikimedia
  • A versatile plant for a border or in a container, Viburnum odoratissum has fragrant white flowers and shiny foliage

Viburnum odoratissum (sometimes listed as V. lucidum), is native to China, Japan, India and Burma. It is a surprisingly hardy plant and one of the few viburnums that will survive in a very hot climate. Commonly called sweet viburnum as the flowers are sweetly scented, it can be grown in a container, in a border or as a dense screen or hedge.

Sweet viburnum


Left to its own devices it will form a medium-sized tree with a dense, multi-branched canopy but cutting it back hard in spring, and clipping it again after flowering, will promote new growth and encourage a compact growth habit.

Sweet viburnum has large, oval, leathery leaves which turn red in the autumn. The perfumed conical racemes of small, white flowers appear in spring and through the summer.

After flowering has finished the green berries appear, gradually turning red and then black as they mature; an autumn treat for the birds.

Although moderately drought-hardy once established, sweet viburnum looks best and stays healthier if watered regularly during the driest months of the year.

Mulching around the base will help the soil to retain moisture. It is a good idea sprinkle a slow-release fertiliser around the base of the plant in the spring.

Sweet viburnum will also survive short periods of frost and is resistant to salt winds close to the sea. Councils often use it in planting schemes in cities as it is not bothered by air pollution or poor, compacted soils.