Maple Leaf Viburnum
Mapleleaf Viburnum, Viburnum acerifolium, is particularly noted for its ability to thrive in dry soil and deep shade where few other shrubs dare dwell. Typically between 3 and 6 feet in height and spreading up to 4 feet wide, the Mapleleaf Viburnum gets its name from its 3-pointed leaves that strongly resemble those of a maple tree.
There’s no mistaking it for a maple tree, though, when a mature shrub puts out 3-inch broad clusters of beautiful white flowers in June, and the butterflies take notice. The show continues into late summer as small purple-black berries or drupes develop and attract songbirds, wild turkeys, and pheasants. In the fall, things get interesting as the leaves change.
Unlike most other shrubs and trees, Mapleleaf Viburnum leaf color is strongly affected by the amount of light received over spring and summer, so there’s no telling whether they’ll change to yellow, orange, pink, red, or reddish-purple in a given year.
When winter comes, remaining drupes are favorites for both birds and wildlife like squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, and deer.
Able to withstand temperatures down to -40 in USDA plant hardiness zones 3 through 8, the Mapleleaf Viburnum is straightforward to grow. It performs best in fertile soil that’s a little on the moist side, but dry conditions are no problem. Full sun with sufficient water is also preferred, but this shrub doesn’t mind dense shade. It even doesn’t mind being placed under walnut trees where many other plants run into trouble due to chemicals generated by the tree’s roots. Once established, the shrub can form colonies.
Choosing a shrub for the landscape usually involves having to match the plant to a specific location due to the plant’s limitations. On the other hand, choose a Mapleleaf Viburnum with reasonable certainty it’ll succeed in a wide variety of conditions.
ReviewsPhoebe DeanThis underused beauty arrived tall and healthy; what a find!
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