For a versatile large shrub or small tree, consider an evergreenviburnum. Fall is a prime time to plant. One of the most popular is Viburnum tinus, pictured above. Itsdense habit makes it a good choice for small gradens as a hedge, screen,or container plant.
Another widely sold variety is leatherleaf viburnum(V. rhytidophyllum). Its rangier habit makes it better suited for biggardens as a screen, espalier, or single showoff plant. Plants of V. tinus reach 6 to 12 feet tall; leaves are anattractive deep green with wine red veins on their undersides. Insummer, blue-black berries follow flowers, often overlapping blooms. V.
tinus is also available in dwarf forms, including’Compactum’, which stays under 6 feet tall. V. tinus’Spring Bouquet’ is nearly identical, but has glossy greenleaves that are more mildew resistant, an advantage where cool, humidclimates favor that disease. V. tinus wants to be a multitrunked shrub and fights back if youtry to train it as a small tree. But to do so, select a plant with oneprimary leader and cut off lower branches up to the point where you wantit branch out. Gardeners who like V.
rhytidophyllum appreciate its rugged,trouble-free habit. But critics feel that its many stiff, upright stemsand large coarse leaves combine to make it gawky. Also, in coldweather, the leaves sometimes hang straight down. Both of thesevarieties grow in many climates. V.
tinus can be grown from westernWashington to the intermediate deserts (where it should be located in ascool a spot as possible). In coastal climates it is susceptible tomildew. V. rhytidophyllum does not like desert living, and its largeleaves may get tattered where conditions are very windy.
Viburnums do best with ample water, but V. tinus prefers soil thatisn’t soggy. Both can tolerate some drought and do well in eithersun or shade. Pruning the base regularly to a few upright stalks helpskeep viburnums shapely. If aphids, mites, and scale attack, controlthem before populations get out of hand.
Hose foliage occasionally tohelp dislodge such pests. Use a spray of liquid soap and water, orinsecticide if needed.