The hydrangea lookalike: Chinese snowball viburnum

Viburnum macrocephalum 3

Chinese snowball viburnum in full bloom on April 12, 2015 in Greenville, SC.

Viburnum macrocephalum 2

Closeup of Chinese snowball viburnum cyme, which is comprised of sterile florets.

For bodacious blooms at this time of year, look no further than Chinese snowball viburnum. Many visitors either ask “What is it?” or “What kind of hydrangea is it?” It’s a semievergreen viburnum. Sure the cymes look like hydrangea blooms, but that’s the only similarity. Chinese snowball viburnum is a tough, durable, drought-tolerant shrub that performs best in full sun. It can grow 12-15 ft. high, but can be cut back to knee height to encourage the production of new flowers.

Chinese snowball viburnum makes a terrific accent plant, but it’s also a shrub that makes everything around it look even better.

B. Polomski 2015 (c)

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