How to Grow Arrowwood Viburnum

arrowwood viburnum

The Spruce / K. Dave

In This Article

Arrowwood viburnum (Viburnum dentatum) is a fairly small flowering shrub that is part of the honeysuckle family. It grows in an upright, rounded shape with stems of glossy green, oval foliage with toothed edges. The leaves are around 4 inches long. In the late spring, the shrub bears showy white flowers that stretch roughly 2 to 4 inches across. Blue-black fruits appear after the flowers and tend to attract birds and other wildlife. In the fall, the shrub’s foliage turns to shades of yellow, orange, and red. Arrowwood viburnum has a moderate growth rate. It can be planted in the spring or early fall.

Botanical Name Viburnum dentatum
Common Names Arrowwood viburnum, southern arrowwood, American arrowwood, roughish arrowwood
Plant Type  Shrub
Mature Size 6–10 ft. tall and wide
Sun Exposure Full, partial
Soil Type Loamy, moist, well-drained
Soil pH Acidic
Bloom Time Spring
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 2–8 (USDA)
Native Area North America

Arrowwood Viburnum Care

Arrowwood viburnum shrubs are good for border plantings, as well as for use as hedges and screens. In ideal growing conditions and with excellent care the shrubs can reach 15 feet tall, but normally they are a bit smaller than that. They also are a good choice for planting in areas of your yard that are too wet for many other plants, as they can handle wet soil.

In terms of their care, plan to water whenever the soil begins to dry out. Fertilization will generally be an annual task, along with pruning. The shrubs can spread out of their bounds via suckers traveling through the soil. So cut back these suckers if you wish to prevent the shrub’s spread. Moreover, if you live in a climate that has considerable temperature fluctuations, a light layer of mulch around your shrub can help to keep its roots at a consistent temperature as well as to retain soil moisture. 

Light

This shrub grows well in full sunlight to partial shade, meaning it needs at least roughly four hours of direct sunlight on most days. In hot climates, shade from the strong afternoon sun is ideal. But too little sun can impede flowering.

Soil

Arrowwood viburnum prefers a loamy, well-drained soil. But it can tolerate a range of soil types, including clay soil. It likes an acidic soil pH.

Water

The shrub needs at least a moderate amount of soil moisture, though mature plants have some drought tolerance. They also can handle occasional flooding. Keep young shrubs well watered, and continue to give established plants water whenever the soil begins to dry out.

Temperature and Humidity

The shrubs prefer temperate conditions, though they have fairly good heat and cold tolerance within their growing zones. Make sure to water them well in very hot weather to minimize plant stress, and give them protection if your temperatures will be unseasonably cold to prevent foliage damage. Humidity typically isn’t an issue for the shrubs. 

Fertilizer

To encourage healthy growth and profuse flowering, apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the spring. It also can be beneficial to mix compost into the soil around your shrub.

Common Pests/Diseases

Arrowwood viburnum shrubs don’t have serious issues with pests or diseases. However, they might be bothered by the viburnum leaf beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni). This beetle has become a major problem for viburnum shrubs in Europe and North America. Both the adult beetles and their larvae eat the leaves of the bushes. And if not controlled, the pest can defoliate your shrubs completely, resulting in their death. The female beetles lay their eggs on the undersides of the shrub stems. So if you notice dark spots there, it’s best to prune off those stems and dispose of them before the eggs hatch in the spring. Use organic pesticides only for serious infestations, as they also can kill beneficial insects.

Pruning

These shrubs don’t need extensive pruning. Right after the plant is done flowering, prune any stems necessary to maintain the shrub’s shape. But avoid taking off more than a third of the shrub's overall size. Remove any dead, damaged, or diseased portions of the shrub whenever you spot them. 

Viburnum Varieties

There are several species and varieties of viburnum shrubs, including:

  • Burkwood viburnum: Burkwood viburnum grows to around 8 to 10 feet tall with a slightly smaller spread. Its glossy leaves and fragrant flowers are its main selling points.
  • Doublefile viburnum: Doublefile viburnum is a beetle-resistant bush and has showier flowers than arrowwood viburnum.
  • Korean spice viburnum: Not only is Korean spice viburnum beetle-resistant, but it is also very fragrant.
  • Mapleleaf viburnum: Mapleleaf viburnum sports unusual pinkish fall foliage and reaches around 4 to 6 feet tall and wide.
  • Snowball bush viburnum: This shrub's common name says it all. Gardeners grow snowball bush for the rounded shape of its white flower heads.
Burkwood viburnum
Burkwood viburnum

Erik Agar / Getty Images

mapleleaf viburnum
Mapleleaf viburnum

surotbar / Getty Images

snowball bush viburnum
Snowball bush viburnum

The Spruce / K. Dave

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