Say What? Evergreen Viburnums?
Posted: January 8, 2014
Even in cold weather, the leaves of Viburnum x pragense provide winter interest and contrast to the bare branches of Virginia sweetspire Little Henry in the left foreground.
Back in the May 2013 edition of the Green Industry News, I talked about the popularity of flowering viburnums, and referenced a Penn State publication titled, Viburnums for the Pennsylvania Landscape. The publication lists many of the attributes of these viburnums such as flower color and fruit maturation months.
The publication also has some lists about the foliage; one of which is leaf persistence. Of the 73 viburnums listed in the publication, only two are considered evergreen shrubs; Viburnum rhytidophyllum and Viburnum x pragense (which has some parentage of V. rhytidophyllum). Of these two evergreens, I like the look of the V. x pragense (Prague Viburnum) as leaves are shinier and less wrinkled than V. rhytidophyllum (Leatherleaf Viburnum).
The eastern half of the Unites States is just emerging from some of the nastiest cold weather we have had in decades and the green industry might see some plant death or at least severe dieback in certain shrubs. One plant that will hold up to cold temperatures is the Prague Viburnum, even more so than its parents V. rhytidophyllum and V. utile.
One of the beauties of viburnums is the multi-season characteristics and Prague viburnum has several interests. The white spring flowers give way to fruit that changes red to black (although I do think there are some better fruiting viburnums over V. x pragense ). Even when flowering is over and the fruit display is minimal, the glossy green leaves add a nice look to the landscape for the rest of the growing season. This is a fast growing shrub and needs some space as it can reach heights of 10 feet with an equal spread.