Viburnum x bodnantense and its several cultivars are renowned for their winter flowers and deep scent. Viburnum x bodnantense came about as a cross hybridization between viburnum farreri and Viburnum grandiflorum. One of the V x b cultivars - 'Dawn' is still mistakenly referred to in some catalogues and writings as Viburnum farreri 'Dawn' instead of the correct Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' I only mention this as it is probably the most common of the group, though losing ground to the other splendid forms. All are deciduous and winter flowering.
The main difference between the different Viburnum x bodnantense types is simply the flower colour, and some would argue, the famous spring fragrance of the Viburnums.
The habit of growth of this group of winter flowering shrubs, is generally upright with a profusion of stems from the base, which lead to a somewhat untidy appearance during the winter months after it has lost its foliage. Were it not for the fabulous scented flowers that insist on showing in late autumn through until the end of winter, then this shrub would be much less noteworthy.
The foliage is attractive enough through the summer months, and also in the spring with the leaves showing decided tints of bronze green.
Height of mature shrubs is similar throughout the group, and settles in at around 2 - 3 metres (6 - 9 ft), with a spread of rather less than that - about 4-6 ft (1.2 - 2m). Most of the growth starts at ground level, and it is almost 'thicket' forming.
Other than the parent of the group, the noted varieties are
Viburnum x bodnantense - The parent of the
group and still going strong with good pink flowers throughout winter.
Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' - Has the darkest pink flowers, but fading to white.
Viburnum x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont' - Medium pink flowers which generally hold for longer before also turning white.
Viburnum x bodnantense 'Deben' - has white flowers throughout the winter - with a slight hint of pink.
All types have reasonable autumn foliage colour, but it is the winter flowers and fragrance which are more sought-after
Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn' | V x b 'Charles Lamont' V x b 'Deben' | V x bodnantense
Rarely beset by any problems other than the odd greenfly aphid - particularly in summer, though not seemingly affecting the shrub.
Viburnum x bodnantense has an untidy habit of growth - even though generally upright. Pruning 25% of the branches down to near ground level, will ensure a good supply of younger stems and get rid of the older wayward stems over time. Do thi immediately after flowering has finished.
Resents transplanting when nearing marturity.
Best grown from semi ripe cuttings inserted in cold frame - late summer. Most will be rooted by early spring, ready to be grown on for a year before planting out in flowering position.