The Morton Arboretum logo

TREES & plants

Fragrant viburnum

Fragrant viburnum, most commonly used in shrub borders, is an upright shrub, named for its small, fragrant, pinkish-white flowers in April.  Additionally, red fruits and reddish-purple fall foliage add color to the landscape in autumn.  Note that fragrant viburnum should be planted in a protected site to avoid stem dieback under exposed conditions.    

Botanical name: 
Viburnum farreri
All Common Names: 
Fragrant viburnum
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • Massing
  • Mixed border
Size Range: 
  • Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 5
  • Zone 6
  • Zone 7
  • Zone 8
Soil Preference: 
  • Acid soil
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Early spring
  • Mid spring
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant
  • Pink
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
  • Moderate
More Information: 


8 to 10 feet high and wide

Tree & Plant Care

 This plant needs a protected site.

Prune after flowering

Disease, pests, and problems

If not protected, this plant will suffer from stem dieback under exposed conditions.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to China, mountainous areas

Fragrant viburnum (Viburnum farreri)Fragrant viburnum (Viburnum farreri)photo: John Hagstrom

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Simple leaves in pairs (opposite)

Fall color is reddish purple

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small fragrant, pink flowers in loose clusters

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Red fruits appear in fall but may be few in number as flowers are often killed by frost in spring.