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Linda Naeve, Reiman Gardens, (515) 294-8946,
Jean McGuire, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-7033,

Judd Viburnum: A Reputable Landscape Shrub

By Linda Naeve
Extension Coordinator
Reiman Gardens

This week's Reiman's Pick - Judd viburnum - belongs to a very reputable plant family. Like a business or business associate, a plant is considered "reputable" if it is reliable, provides quality products and has good character. The viburnum family has all these qualities. According to Dr. Michael Dirr, distinguished horticulturist, "a garden without a viburnum is akin to life without music and art."

There are about 150 species of shrubs and trees in the Viburnum genus. There is a Viburnum species suitable for almost any landscape purpose except as a ground cover. They range in size from 3 to 4 feet to nearly 30 feet in height. After flowering in the spring, they can be pruned to maintain a specific size or shape.

Viburnums provide year-round beauty in the landscape. The color and texture of the foliage is striking in the summer and fall. Attractive fruit follows the showy, spring flowers. The fruit of some Viburnum species is edible and can be used for jellies, jams and pies. Viburnums are a great choice for a natural wildlife area or if you simply want to attract birds to your landscape.

Many viburnums can be grown successfully in hardiness zone 4, and some species can even be grown in cold, mountainous regions of zone 2. They require well-drained soil; however, they can tolerate soils that range from acidic to somewhat alkaline. Most Viburnum species prefer full sun but can grow in partial shade. The flower display in spring and fruit load may be less when grown in a shady area.

The Judd viburnum (Viburnum x juddii) is the result of a cross between Koreanspice viburnum (V. carlesii) and Bitchiu viburnum (V. bitchiuense). William H. Judd developed it at the Arnold Arboretum in 1920. Although it has been in the market since about 1935, it has not become popular until recent years. It is now being propagated and sold in greater numbers.

Judd viburnum inherited the best features of both parents. Like the Koreanspice viburnum, the flowers are in 3-inch hemispherical clusters, thus they are round on top and somewhat flat on the back - half of a snowball. The flowers are pink to reddish in bud and then open white and bloom for about 10 days in late April to early May. The flowers have the strong, pleasant fragrance of the Koreanspice viburnum.

The foliage of a Judd viburnum is dull, blue-green in the summer and wine red in fall. Another reputable characteristic of Judd viburnum is it is less susceptible to bacterial leaf spot than either of its parents.

Judd viburnums are beautiful landscape shrubs with their full, rounded growth habit and mature height of 6 to 8 feet. They can be used in a foundation planting along a sidewalk, in group plantings or shrub borders. They are also attractive as single plants.

You can see a beautiful grouping of Judd viburnum near the original entrance gate to Reiman Gardens. They also are planted in a border garden in the Town and Country garden.

To learn more about the Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University visit us on the Web at:


Editors: Two color photos, suitable for publication, are available at right. Click on each thumbnail photo to go to the fullsized photo. The top picture's fullsize photo is 564K and the bottom picture's fullsize photo is 268K.

Caption: Judd Viburnum 1

Caption: Judd Viburnum 2

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