How to Grow Snowball Viburnum - Plant Care & Tips

By NorwichGardener Team   /   2024

Snowball viburnum is a shrub that is native to North America. This shrub is known for its round, white flowers that bloom in the spring. Snowball viburnum can grow to be 6 feet tall and wide, and it prefers to grow in moist, well-drained soil. This plant is also known for its berries, which are a favorite food of birds.

How to Grow Snowball Viburnum - Plant Care & Tips

Popular name

  • American cranberrybush
  • Blackhaw viburnum
  • Nannyberry viburnum
  • Arrowwood viburnum
  • European cranberrybush

Things to Know

  • Snowball viburnum is a shrubby, deciduous plant that typically grows to 6-10’ tall with a similar spread.
  • It is native to Europe, Asia and North America.
  • The leaves are ovate to oblong-ovate, 2-4” long and 1-2” wide, with serrated margins and a pointed tip. They are dark green above and paler beneath.
  • The flowers are borne in large, round clusters (3-6” diameter) at the ends of the branches in spring. They are white or creamy white, each with five petals.
  • The fruit is a globose, black drupe, ripening in late summer and early fall.
  • Snowball viburnum is an easy plant to grow and is tolerant of a wide range of soils and conditions.
  • It prefers full sun to partial shade and should be watered regularly during the growing season.
  • This plant is susceptible to a number of diseases, including powdery mildew, leaf spot and stem canker.
  • It is also attractive to a variety of pests, including aphids, scale, whiteflies and mites.
  • Snowball viburnum is a popular plant for use in gardens, parks and other landscapes.

Related plant:
Eastern Snowball Viburnum

Planting Process

  1. For snowball viburnum, first step is to take the seeds and plant them in early spring.
  2. You will need to find a location that has good drainage and gets full sun.
  3. Prepare the soil by loosen it up and adding some organic matter.
  4. Plant the seeds about 1/2 inch deep and keep them moist.
  5. Once the seedlings emerge, thin them out so that they are about 12 inches apart.
  6. Fertilize the plants during the growing season.
  7. Water regularly, especially during dry periods.
  8. Cut back the plants in late winter to promote new growth in the spring.
  9. The snowball viburnum will start to produce flowers in the second year.
  10. Enjoy your beautiful snowball viburnum!

Related plant:
Snowball Hydrangea

The Soil

About soil condition, the snowball viburnum prefers well-drained, fertile soil, but it is adaptable to a range of soil conditions. It prefers full sun to partial shade, but it can tolerate full shade.

Light condition

Similar to other snowball viburnums, the sun light requirement for this plant is 6 hours per day. The plant grows best in full sun to partial shade, and can tolerate some shade. However, if the plant does not get enough sun, it will not produce as many flowers.

The Temperature

The temperature condition that is best for snowball viburnum is one that is cool but not freezing. This shrub prefers full sun but can tolerate partial shade. It is adaptable to a variety of soil types but does best in moist, well-drained soil.

Ideal Humidity

Ideal humidity condition for this plant is around 50%. However, the plant can tolerate a range of 30-60%. If the humidity is too low, the plant may experience some leaf drop. If the humidity is too high, the plant may become more susceptible to fungal diseases.

Fertilizer Requirement

Regarding fertilizer, usually the plant doesn't need much. In fact, too much fertilizer can actually do more harm than good. If you do decide to fertilize, use a root stimulator specifically designed for trees and shrubs. This will help encourage new root growth, which is vital to the plant's health.

Plant Pruning

Pruning your snowball viburnum is important to maintain its shape and size. You can prune off any dead or diseased branches, as well as any branches that are growing in the wrong direction. You can also trim back any overgrown branches.

Plant Propagation

Propagation of snowball viburnum is best done by softwood cuttings taken in late spring or early summer. The cuttings should be 4-6 inches long and taken from new growth. rooted in a media of sand and peat.

Growth Rate

Usually, the plant growth rate is determined by the soil fertility, moisture, and amount of sunlight the plant receives. However, the type of snowball viburnum (e.g. cultivar, species) can impact the rate of growth. For example, V. macrocephalum has a much faster growth rate compared to V. carlesii. In general, snowball viburnum growth rates are slow to medium.

Basic Problems

Common problems for this kind of plant are powdery mildew, leaf spot, and stem canker. Powdery mildew is a white, powdery fungus that appears on the leaves and stems of the plant. Leaf spot is a black or brown fungus that appears on the leaves of the plant. Stem canker is a black or brown fungus that appears on the stems of the plant.

Basics of Growing

  • Do not forget to water your snowball viburnum plant frequently, especially during the first few years after planting.
  • Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the plant to help retain moisture and protect the roots.
  • Prune the plant annually to encourage new growth and maintain its shape.
  • Fertilize the plant every spring using a balanced fertilizer.
  • Place the plant in an area that receives full sun to partial shade for best results.
  • Protect the plant from strong winds by placing it in a sheltered location.
  • Keep an eye out for common pests and diseases such as aphids, scale, and powdery mildew. Treat the plant accordingly if any problems arise.
  • Harvest the snowball flowers when they are fully open and use them in fresh bouquets or dried arrangements.
  • The berries can be used in pies, jams, or syrups, or simply enjoyed fresh


  • Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum
  • Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Mariesii’
  • Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Mariesii Supreme’
  • Viburnum opulus var. americanum
  • Viburnum dentatum
  • Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum
  • Viburnum opulus g

Viburnum, Snowball
European Snowball Viburnum - Viburnum opulus 'Roseum'
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Richelle Author Photo
Reviewed & Published by Richelle
Submitted by our contributor
Shrubs Category