Viburnum tomentosum Thunb.
Common Name: Japanese Snowball
Viburnum plicatum is a much-branched, deciduous shrub that can grow up to 4.5 metres tall, though is usually smaller in cultivation[
The plant is occasionally harveted from the wild for local use as a food. It is often grown as an ornamental, usually in its sterile form where the flowers are larger and more showy but unable to produce seed[
E. Asia - China, central and southern Japan, Korea
Thickets in mountains; at elevations up to 1,800 metres[
]. Mixed forests and thickets; at elevations from 200 - 3,000 metres[
Viburnum plicatum is a very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c.
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in most soils but is ill-adapted for poor soils and for dry situations[
]. It prefers a deep rich loamy soil in sun or semi-shade[
]. Best if given shade from the early morning sun in spring[
Plants are surface-rooting and are very susceptible to damage by hoeing, drought or water-logging. A section of top growth will often die back if the roots are damaged, in severe cases this will lead to the death of the plant[
Any pruning that is required is best carried out immediately after flowering since this will promote the new growth on which the following years flowers will be produced[
A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties[
]. The type species is actually a sterile garden form with more showy flowers. The true wild species is often referred to as Viburnum plicatum tomentosum. (Thunb.)Miq.[
Plants take about 5 years from planting out before they start to produce fruit[
]. Fruit production can be erratic[
Plants are self-incompatible and need to grow close to a genetically distinct plant in the same species in order to produce fruit and fertile seed[
We have no specific information for this species, but the fruit of many species is often eaten either raw or cooked[
]. The broadly ovoid fruit initially turns red, maturing black, it can be up to 6mm long and 3 - 4mm wide[
Young leaves - cooked[
]. Rather unpleasant[
Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Germination can be slow, sometimes taking more than 18 months. If the seed is harvested 'green' (when it has fully developed but before it has fully ripened) and sown immediately in a cold frame, it should germinate in the spring[
]. Stored seed will require 2 months warm then 3 months cold stratification and can still take 18 months to germinate[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame or greenhouse. Plant out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer of the following year.
Cuttings of soft-wood, early summer in a frame[
]. Pot up into individual pots once they start to root and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8 cm long with a heel if possible, mid summer in a frame[
]. Plant them into individual pots as soon as they start to root. These cuttings can be difficult to overwinter, it is best to keep them in a greenhouse or cold frame until the following spring before planting them out[
Cuttings of mature wood, winter in a frame. They should root in early spring - pot them up when large enough to handle and plant them out in the summer if sufficient new growth is made, otherwise keep them in a cold frame for the next winter and then plant them out in the spring.
Layering of current seasons growth in mid summer. Takes 15 months[