Doublefile viburnum or Japanese snowball viburnum, Viburnum plicatum, produces 2 to 3 inch wide showy, snowball-type clusters of white flowers in spring. A dense, upright, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub with somewhat horizontal branching that grows 8 to 12 feet high. Dark green leaves are strongly-veined, toothed, with pleated upper surfaces turn a burgundy red to purplish red in fall. Although this shrub is well suited for the Midwestern landscape it can occasionally winter kill to the ground.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
- Mixed border
- Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Mid spring
- Late spring
- Early fall
- Mid fall
Size and Form
8 to 10 feet high and 9 to 12 feet wide
Tree & Plant Care
Best in fulll sun to part shade, in well-drained soil
Although hardy to the midwest, plant in a protected site. plant can dieback in cold winters.
Flowers on last years wood, prune after flowering
Disease, pests, and problems
Plants can occasionally winter kill to the ground.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to Japan and China
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Opposite, dark green, 4 inch long leaves are strongly-veined, toothed, with pleated upper surface.
Dark green in summer turn a reddish purple in fall
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Showy, 2 to 3 inch wide snowball-type clusters of white flowers in spring
White flowers have no fragrance
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Viburnum plicatum produces no fruit.
Cultivars and their differences
Newport™ Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum 'Newzam'): A compact, 4 to 5 feet high and 3 feet wide, rounded habit, white snowball-like clusters of flowers, Thisck dark green foliage turns burgundy in fall.
Popcorn Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum 'Popcorn'): A large 8 to 10 feet high rounded shrub with 3 inch white snowball-type flowers.
Mary Milton Doublefile Viburnum (Viburnum plicatum f. plicatum 'Mary Milton'): An upright shrub reaching 8 to 10 feet high and 6 feet wide. New foliage is reddish-bronze. Flowers are greenish-pink buds opening to soft pink snowball-like flowers.