Viburnum Rhytidophyllum, with the common name Leatherleaf Viburnum, is an evergreen garden stalwart which provides reliable year-round foliage and spring flowers. You will find it an excellent background or hedging shrub in a large or small garden.
Introduced from China in 1900, this large-leaved viburnum is a popular variety that grows bigger than other viburnums. In late spring, Viburnum rhytidophyllum produces domed heads of fragrant white flowers, followed by oval-shaped red berries that turn a glossy black in autumn and early winter attracting birds to your garden. The long, lance-shaped leaves will grow to a length of 8 cm, and are a dark blue-green on top and pale green underneath. They will remain throughout the winter.
Winter-hardy throughout most of the UK, Viburnum rhytidophyllum will grow to an ultimate height and spread of 2.5- 4 metres over a period of 10 to 20 years. If planting as a hedge, space the leatherleaf viburnum plants 1-2 metres apart, depending on how fast you want the hedge to fill in. It needs little pruning to maintain its shape. It is necessary to have more than one plant to ensure pollination and fruit set.
Leatherleaf viburnum is an exceptionally tolerant plant which will adapt to many different conditions. It can be grown in full sun for best blooming, part shade, or full shade successfully, in a sheltered or exposed position. While it will do best in fertile, moist, well-drained, loamy soil, it will also tolerate clay, sand, or chalk, and acid, alkaline, or neutral ph. Viburnum rhytidophyllum will also grow in wet soil, making it a good choice for a damp spot where many other plants would not thrive.
This undemanding, reliable shrub works well in a mixed border as a background planting for a procession of more showy plants as the seasons change. While the spring flowers and autumn and winter berries give some visual interest, it is as a year-round foliage plant and garden screen that Viburnum rhytidophyllum is most valued.
Plant a row of Leatherleaf viburnum as a hedge, where its evergreen leaves and considerable height will give you a living garden wall. On a larger property, create a cluster of 5-7 Viburnum rhytidophyllum for a more natural-looking screen. These shrubs also make excellent under-storey plantings in a woodland garden because of their tolerance for shade.
Viburnum rhytidophyllum is a reliable, hard-working shrub, which for minimal maintenance will provide you with year-round foliage and screening in your garden, whether large or small! More information on Viburnum on our blog.