How to Grow Viburnum Macrocephalum - Plant Care & Tips

By NorwichGardener Team   /   2024

Viburnum macrocephalum is a species of flowering plant in the family Adoxaceae. It is native to China and Vietnam. The plant is known for its large, showy flowers. The flowers are white or pink, and they are borne in large clusters. The plant grows to a height of 2-3 m.

How to Grow Viburnum Macrocephalum - Plant Care & Tips

Popular name

  • Big-headed Viburnum
  • China Ball
  • Cricket-ball Tree
  • Fat Viburnum
  • Gansu Viburnum

Basic info

  • Viburnum macrocephalum is a flowering plant in the family Adoxaceae.
  • It is native to China and Korea.
  • It is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing to 3–6 m (8–17 ft) tall.
  • The leaves are opposite, 10–20 cm (9–9 in) long and 4–8 cm (6–1 in) broad.
  • The flowers are white, 10–15 mm (0.39–0.59 in) diameter, with five petals.
  • The fruit is a dark blue drupe 10–15 mm (0.39–0.59 in) diameter.
  • It is used in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • It is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens.
  • It has been introduced to North America and Europe as an ornamental plant.
  • It has been found to be an effective plant for treating wastewater.

Related plant:
Viburnum Opulus Compactum

How to Grow

  1. For viburnum macrocephalum, first step is to start with bare-root or potted plant.
  2. Choose a location in full sun to part shade.
  3. Prepare the planting area by turning the soil and adding compost or other organic matter.
  4. Plant your viburnum macrocephalum at the same depth it was in the pot.
  5. Water deeply and regularly during the first growing season.
  6. Apply a thin layer of mulch around the base of the plant.
  7. Fertilize annually with a balanced fertilizer.
  8. Prune as needed to shape the plant and remove any diseased or damaged branches.
  9. Viburnum macrocephalum is generally pest and disease resistant.
  10. Enjoy the beautiful flowers and berries!

Related plant:
Viburnum Carlesii Aurora

Soil Requirement

About soil condition, Viburnum macrocephalum prefers a moist, humus-rich, well-drained soil, but it is quite tolerant of less than ideal conditions. It will grow in sun or shade, but it blooms best in full sun.

Light condition

Not too different with other viburnums, the macrocephalum does best in full sun, but can tolerate some shade. An ideal spot for this shrub is one that gets sun for most of the day, but has some relief from the hot afternoon sun. It's also important to choose a spot with well-drained soil, as the macrocephalum is sensitive to wet conditions.

Good Temperature

The temperature condition that is most favorable for the growth of viburnum macrocephalum is between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. This plant is not very tolerant of extreme temperatures and can be damaged by temperatures that are either too high or too low.

Ideal Humidity

Ideal humidity condition for this plant is 50% - 60%. If the plant is put in an environment with lower or higher humidity, the plant may experience some negative effects. For example, lower humidity can cause the leaves to dry out and drop off, while higher humidity can cause the plant to develop mold or mildew.


For the fertilizer, usually the plant will need a 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 mix. However, for the root, it is recommended that you use a 1-2-1 mix. This will ensure that the plant gets the nutrients it needs for a healthy root system.

Light requirement

Pruning viburnum macrocephalum is best done in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. This shrub can be pruned quite severely, as it is very forgiving. Just be sure to take off no more than 1/3 of the shrub's overall height.

The Propagation

Propagation of Viburnum macrocephalum is typically done through softwood cuttings taken from new growth in late spring or early summer. The cuttings should be 4-6 inches long and taken from the tips of the stems. They should be placed in a moist, well-drained media and kept at a temperature of 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit. Cuttings should be taken from healthy plants that are free of pests and diseases.

Growth Speed

Usually, the plant growth rate is between 10 and 15 feet (3 to 4.6 m) per year. However, some plants have been found to grow up to 24 feet (7.3 m) in a year. This fast growth rate is attributable to the plant's rapid reproductive cycle.

The Problems

Common problems for this kind of plant are powdery mildew, rust, and leaf spot. Powdery mildew is a white, powdery fungus that can cover the leaves and stems of the plant. Rust is a yellow, orange, or red fungus that can cause the leaves to fall off. Leaf spot is a dark brown or black fungus that can cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off.

List to Know

  • If growing from seed, start the seeds indoors in late winter or early spring.
  • Set out young plants in early to mid-spring, after the last frost date.
  • Viburnum macrocephalum prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil.
  • Amend the soil with compost or other organic matter before planting.
  • Water young plants regularly until they become established.
  • Once established, viburnum macrocephalum is relatively drought tolerant.
  • Fertilize annually with a balanced fertilizer such as 10-10-
  • Prune in late winter or early spring to shape as desired.
  • This plant is relatively pest and disease resistant.
  • Viburnum macrocephalum can be propagated by seed, softwood cuttings, or division.


  • TRADITION site (
  • Plant name Binomial Plant family Plant part Ground location Use ... Viburnum macrocephalum Real Chinese Snowball Caprifoliaceae Flower bud Leaves Roots Flowers Fruit ...
  • PlantLife > Plant of the month > November 2003
  • Plant of the month > November 2003 > Viburnum carlesii Snowball Tree The Queen's ... Viburnum carlesii is closely related to the Chinese/Japanese Snowball Tree, Viburnum macrocephalum ...
  • ...
  • Connections: A Newsletter of the Maryland Native Plant Society
  • ... the 2 large

Viburnum macrocephalum - UDBG
Viburnum macrocephalum (sterile) - UDBG Online Store -
Viburnum - UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County

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