Native to China and Japan, this deciduous flowering shrub is a member of the moschatel family, Adoxaceae, that also includes elders. The shrub grows 8-10′ tall and has horizontal branching that creates a layered look. The bark is grayish brown with orange lenticels and young stems are hairy. The oval leaves are 2-4″ long leaves and have pubescent undersides and coarsely serrated margins. Nearly straight, impressed veins give the leaves a pleated look. They are dark green until fall when they turn reddish-purple. Flat topped clusters of flowers 2-4″ wide appear well above the foliage and are composed of large sterile flowers surrounding small fertile ones in the center. The flowers are white at first but fade to pink. They appear in mid-spring and sporadically through the summer into fall and are attractive to butterflies. The fertile florets give way tiny red fruits that turn black and are ornamentally attractive and appealing to birds. Doublefile viburnum is a beautiful specimen shrub, a good choice for a shrub border, and for butterfly and bird gardens. The genus name, Viburnum, is the Latin name of one species. The specific epithet, plicata, is the Latin word meaning having been folded, and refers to the appearance of the leaves. The form name, is a new Latin term meaning having a mass of rough hairs, referring to the hairs on the leaf undersides and stems.

Type: Flowering deciduous shrub

Outstanding Feature: Flowers

Form: Rounded

Growth Rate: Moderate

Bloom: Flat topped clusters 2-4″ wide, composed of large sterile flowers surrounding small fertile ones in the center; mid-spring and sporadically into fall

Size: 8-10′ H

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Soil: Average, moist well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Care: Mulch to keep the roots cool.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Softwood, hardwood or semi-hardwood cuttings

Outstanding Selections:

‘Summer Snowflake’ (narrower than others)

‘Shasta’ (6-8′ tall)



‘Mariesii’ (distinct layered branching)

‘Watanabe’ aka ‘Nanum Semperflorens’

‘Summer Stars’

‘Pink Beauty’ (pink flowers)

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

By Karen