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TREES & plants

Tea viburnum

White, slightly fragrant flowers of tea viburnum

One of the best fruiting viburnums, this little known viburnum produces bright red fruit clusters, white spring flowers and muted red fall color.  A good plant for sun or shade reaching 8 to 12 feet high and 6 to 10 feet wide. May be difficult to find in nursery trade.

Botanical name: 
Viburnum setigerum
All Common Names: 
Tea viburnum
Family (English): 
Elderberry
Family (Botanic): 
Adoxaceae
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Specimen
  • 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
Soil Preference: 
  • Moist, well-drained soil
Foliage: 
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Season of Interest: 
  • Early fall
  • Mid fall
  • Late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • White
Shape or Form: 
  • Multi-stemmed
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
More Information: 

Size

8 to 12 feet high and 5 to 8 feet wide
Upright, multi-stemmed, often leggy at base.

Tree & Plant Care

Full sun for best flowering , tolerant of part shade.
Moist well drained soil.
Prune only as needed so the fruit display will not be reduced unneccesarily

Disease, pests, and problems

No serious problems

Native geographic location and habitat

Native to central and western China

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite,  3 to 6 inch long elliptical leaves with a bluish green color above, lighter green beneath; fall color is a muted redish purple. 

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Small, 1 to 2 inch flat-topped to slightly domed clusters of white flowers
Not as showy as other species of viburnum

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Bright red berries of Tea viburnumTea viburnum fruitphoto: John Hagstrom

Bright red berry-like fruits; very showy on long stalks (peduncles)