Virtues: We love doublefile viburnumn, or Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Mariesii’, for its showy spring flowers and its red to purple fall foliage. This beautiful garden shrub also has a very nice branch structure.
Common name: Doublefile viburnum, ‘Mariesii’ Japanese snowball
Botanical name: Viburnum plicatum f. tomentosum ‘Mariesii’
Flowers: White flowers appear in mid- to late spring. These flowers consist of large florets that ring a center of tiny ball-like florets. Flowering can be profuse. Flowers are followed by red-to-black berries that birds enjoy eating.
Foliage: The four-inch broadly oval leaves are dark green in summer and turn red and/or purple in fall.
Habit: Deciduous shrub that grows 10 to 12 feet tall and 12 to 15 feet wide, with very even horizontal branching, giving a ladder- or pagoda-like effect.
Season: Spring for flowers; fall for foliage. The horizontal branching of the shrub gives it some year-round appeal as a structural element in the garden.
Origin: Cultivar named for Charles Maries (1851–1902). The species is native to Japan.
How to grow doublefile viburnum: Grow this viburnum in average soil with moderate watering. Drainage should be good. Doublefile viburnum will grow in full sun or part shade. It can tolerate some drought, but does best with even watering. If the shrub needs pruning, do so just after it finishes flowering. USDA Zones 5–8.
Fall image: “Viburnum plicatum tomentosum BotGardBln1105Fall”. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Spring image: “Viburnum plicatum Mariesii C” by Wouter Hagens – Own work. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Design a garden that will attract birds and other wildlife with The Living Landscape by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy.
Understand how to best position plants with strong form, and many other design concepts, in Rebecca Sweet’s Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture and Form.