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Viburnum davidii - Low growing evergreen shrub

Lowest of the low - as far as Viburnums are concerned. But only in stature, for the Viburnum davidii is one of the most useful of shrubs for evergreen ground cover. It is not simply a mass of leaves that smother weeds.

The foliage on Viburnum davidii is quite unique amongst the Viburnums. Here we have deeply veined - almost ridged - leaves upon a low growing dome of foliage.

This Viburnum has three veins along the long spear-shaped leaves. The leaves are normally around 4in long, but can be longer if good growing conditions are met - even 6in (15cm) long. The white flower clusters - flat plates held above the foliage - are not the showiest of blooms, but en-masse form a good contrast - especially as this shrub can be grown in quite dark situations.

Viburnum davidii - foliage and fowersAnd it flowers in late spring - regardless of weather conditions.

Following on from the flowers, are the berries for which this shrub is best known. The berries are oval-shaped and held upright on the 'used' flower stems.

It is the colour of the berries which set this one apart. They are dark or bright metallic blue - almost black-blue, held aloft in clusters. Quite attractive and certainly distinct -lasting through late summer and well into winter.

Viburnum davidii berriesThis Viburnum is dioecious - which simply means that it has both male and female plant forms. (It is the flowers which are different). For the berries, you will have to plant both male and female types.  This is best done by using as a ground cover plant, and planting several. There is no way that I know of, to recognise either male or female - other than by the flowers, and most are sold before they get to flowering size.

How to Grow Viburnum davidii

Viburnum davidii is so easy to grow, that this information is more or less superficial. But! It will grow in any normal garden soil that does not suffer from waterlogging. Grow it in full sun, or in dappled shade for best results, but it will also provide good cover in woodland shade once established.

It is not a particularly thirsty shrub, so will tolerate short drought conditions. The first signs of distress being the dropping leaves. Give it a good soak and normal service will be resumed. Many plants that are easy to grow, tend to get neglected. So it is with Viburnum davidii! Just give it a good mulch each autumn or spring, and don't worry about feeding, unless you are one of the gardeners with the permanent 'feeder' on the end of your hose. It does NOT need it!

Propagation of Viburnum davidii

Not the easiest to root from cuttings - and almost impossible from seed.

Cuttings of Viburnum davidii are best taken from semi ripe wood in the late summer, and placed in a cold frame, where they are happy to spend the whole winter. Rooting should have taken place by early spring, and this will be 'advertised' with the new growth from cutting center.

Sowing Seed of Viburnum davidii - The seed is best pre-chilled in the fridge for a couple of weeks. Do this in a sealed polythene bag full of moist peat. The seed can then be sown in cold frame for best results. Germination is at best erratic, so be prepared to leave the seed for up to 14 months if necessary! Pre-chilling is more than helpful, and you are unlikely to see reults unless you do it.

Problems with Viburnum davidii

The young foliage sometimes gets blasted full of holes by Thrips and other pests. Spray at first sign. (Provado does the job).

Otherwise, no real problems to report.

Other plants of interest in January  |  Pruning Viburnum davidii


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