Prague viburnum flowers make a sensational show against the bluish-green metallic leaves on gray winter days.
Prague viburnum is a beautiful and extremely fast-growing evergreen shrub. It has slender, graceful branches and an upright, rounded form. It gets 6-10 ft (1.8-3.1 m) tall. The elliptic leaves are 2-4 in (5.1-10.2 cm) long, with a puckered texture and deeply incised veins. They are shiny dark green above and white felty beneath, and arranged in opposing pairs along the branches. In late winter and early spring, pretty pink buds open to creamy white flowers borne in clusters 2-4 (5.1-10.2 cm) wide at the ends of branches, making a very pleasing show. The flowers are somewhat fragrant having a light spicy scent. Prague viburnum is a hybrid species whose parents were leatherleaf viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum) and service viburnum (V. utile).
Prague viburnum flowers against a a bright winter sky. Click to download a large (800x600) version.
Prague viburnum originated in the 1950's in the city nursery in Prague, the capital of what was then Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). Both of the parent species are native to China.
Prague viburnum does best in fertile, moist, well drained soil with a slightly acid pH. It grows so fast it will need to be topped occasionally to encourage branching.
Light: Full sun to moderate shade. Moisture: Moist but well drained. Jack grows this viburnum on a hot sunny fast draining hillside and reports that it is able to withstand periods of drought once established. This is a very durable shrub. Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-8. Prague viburnum is much hardier to cold than either of its parents. It may not be totally evergreen in the northernmost parts of its useful range. Propagation: Prague viburnum is easy to propagate from softwood cuttings. It also can be grafted or layered.
Prague viburnum shrubs grow tall straight stems that, unless trimmed, eventually flop over so that the plant forms a large mound (this guy has been headed back).
This is the perfect hedge for the impatient gardener! Prague viburnum makes a good, fast screen, but is distinguished enough to be used alone as a specimen or in a small grouping. It will do well in dappled shade, especially in the southern part of its useful range.
Prague viburnum is one of many hybrid viburnums available to discriminating gardeners. This one is fast growing, cold hardy, has shiny evergreen leaves, and showy, slightly fragrant flowers. See Floridata's profile on Burkwood viburnum, another popular hybrid.
Jack Scheper 12/09/97; updated 11/22/00, 1/26/02, 12/28/03, 2/4/05, 12/9/06, 2/22/09
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Tallahassee, Florida USA