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How to Grow a Snowball Bush Viburnum with Care and Planting Tips

Every year I look forward to the big, white, beautiful blooms of the Snowball bush viburnum. They are one of the first shrubs to flower in the spring and never fail to disappoint with their large, round flower heads that look like snowballs. It’s a dense bush that can grow 10- 12 feet tall and up to 8 feet wide, especially when it really loves where it ‘s planted. If you’ve ever wanted to grow a snowball bush viburnum and wanted to know how to with care and planting tips, this is a great place to start! If you watch the video below you can get a closer look at a snowball viburnum.

Snowball viburnum flower heads

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There are many varieties of Snowball Bushes including the Japanese  snowball bush, the Chinese snowball bush and the most common variety that we are going to talk about today, the European/common  (Eastern) snowball  bush.

This is a midwestern favorite to plant along with the Oakleaf hydrangea!

Common Eastern Snowball bush viburnum shrub

The Eastern snowball bush, also known as Viburnum Opulus “Sterile” or “Roseum” is a hardy shrub that grows in planting zones 3-8. They can reach about 10-12 feet in height and almost 8 feet across with mounds and mounds of showy blooming flowers that measure 3-5 inches across. 

Like other viburnums, the snowball bush loves full sun (but will do OK in some shade) and in the best growing conditions will have a growth rate of almost 2 feet a year!  Some of the dwarf varieties may grow slightly slower.

Shop for a Common Snowball Viburnum

Common snowball viburnum leaves and flowers

The one caveat is that this type of viburnum is subject to is the dreaded viburnum beetle. It’s a terrible, small, brown beetle that will defoliate your viburnum in the matter of a week or two with a heavy infestation that can kill your shrub. Mine was attacked a few years ago and I was able to save it. I have another post coming on the steps I took to save it after it was almost skeletonized.

Snowball viburnum flowers are interesting in that they resemble hydrangeas, but one of the many differences are their growth habits. The Eastern viburnum flowerheads tend to grow and hang loosely in an alternate pattern with 4-7 blooms the along their branch, and seem to give a little “quake” or “simmer” in he breeze or when shaken. Hydrangeas are more static on the end of their stiff stems . There is something sweet and romantic with the way the viburnum flower-heads move in the breeze.

Eastern  or Common snowball viburnum bush with white flowers

To keep the growth under control, prune your viburnum in summer after the blooms have faded. You might find you might also do a little pruning naturally when you cut those amazing branches of quaking blooms. I love to clip mine when the heads are small and green, and then again when the flowers fill out and are full and white.

Dining room with snowball viburnums in a vase abd bvlack wallpaper with mushrooms and a twine pendant light

A snowball viburnum is a beautiful addition to any landscape, makes a gorgeous vase filler and is a wonderful backdrop or starring-role shrub in your yard.