Wayfaring tree is a large rounded shrub often used for its adaptability and reliability. Thick, dark green leaves, white spring flowers, and beautiful clusters of red to yellow to black berries add to the ornamental appeal. Plants often appear ‘leggy,’ so use near the back of the border, in mass, or in groupings. A good plant for naturalizing.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Go to list of cultivars.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Mixed border,
- Compact tree (10-15 feet),
- 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 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Moist, well-drained soil
Season of Interest:
- Late spring,
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size & Form
Plants grow 10 to 15 feet high and wide.
Irregular to rounded habit, often "leggy" at the bottom.
Tree & Plant Care
Adaptable to part shade to full sun, best in well drained soil.
Flowers on old stems, prune after flowering.
Disease, pests, and problems
No serious problems.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to Europe and Asia.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Opposite, simple oblong leaves with a wrinkled appearance. Surface of leaves are very pubescent, fuzzy to the touch.
Dark blue-green to medium green in summer, thick-textured leaves seldom develop good fall color.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Small, creamy white flowers in flat-topped to slightly-domed clusters in spring.
Not fragrant, often malodorous.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Berry-like fruits (drupes) changing from yellow to red and black often with all color on the same cluster.
Fruiting is maximized when different cultivars are in close proximity.
Mohican Wayfaring tree viburnum (Viburnum lantana ‘Mohican’): A compact, 8 to 10 feet high and wide, rounded shrub; thick, leathery, dark green leaves turn a purplish-red fall color. Attractive orange-red fruit in early July maintains good color for 4 weeks or more.
Variegatum Wayfaring viburnum (Viburnum lantana 'Variegatum'): Compact, 8 to 10 feet high and wide; dark green leaves with flecks of chartreuse, lime and gold. Best planted in part shade to full shade to avoid leaf burn.