Siebold viburnum

White flower clusters of Siebold viburnum

This large shrub or small tree growing 15 to 20 feet tall. It has glossy, dark green leaves with toothed edges. In May creamy-white flowers are followed later with clusters of red berries. The shiny dark green leaves turn a burgundy in fall.

This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.


Botanical name:

Viburnum sieboldii

All Common Names:

Siebold viburnum

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub,
  • Tree


  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Hedge,
  • Mixed border,
  • Patio/sidewalk,
  • Screen,
  • Specimen,
  • Utility

Size Range:

  • Small tree (15-25 feet),
  • Compact tree (10-15 feet),
  • 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 4,
  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7

Soil Preference:

  • Moist, well-drained soil

Season of Interest:

  • Mid spring,
  • Mid fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Round,
  • Upright

Growth Rate:

  • Moderate

More Information:

Size and Form

A large shrub or small tree grows 15 to 20 feet high with a 15 feet spread.
Open habit with stiff horizontal branches

Tree & Plant Care

Best in full sun in moist, well drained soil.
Water in dry periods. 
Prune after flowering in spring.
This plant is difficult to locate in nurseries.

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious diseases or pests.
Scorch may be a problem in too dry sites.

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to Japan.

Bark color and texture 

The gray bark is blocky and broken in small plates resembling alligator skin.
Branches are grayish, slightly pubescent, stiff and ridgid.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Siebold viburnum (Viburnum sieboldii)
Siebold viburnum leaves
photo: John Hagstrom

Opposite, elliptical leaves are 3 to 5 inches long with a toothed margins and deeply ridged veins. 
Leaves are dark green in summer and may pick up some red-purple color in the fall.
Smells like green pepper when crushed. 
Some cultivars have been selected for improved fall color.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, creamy white flowers in a loose, open clusters on long stalks.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

The fruit is a cluster of small berry-like drupes, changing color from green to to red to nearly black.
Once fruit drops the inflorescence remain rosy-red and showy.

Cultivars and their differences 

Ironclad Siebold viburnum (Viburnum sieboldii 'KLMfour'):  15 feet high and 12 feet wide; a heavy flowering form with reliable burgundy fall color.

Wavecrest Siebold viburnum (Viburnum sieboldii 'Wavecrest'):  7 to 8 feet high and 4 feet wide; thick dark green leaves turn a brick-red fall color; orange-red fruit and scarlet peduncles.

Location of Viburnum sieboldii (Siebold viburnum) at the Arboretum