Korean spice viburnum's most notable characteristic is the intoxicating fragrant white flowers that cover the shrub in spring. The pink to red budded white flowers have a pink blush, leaves are a dull, dark green that turn outstanding wine-red in the fall. An excellent choice as specimen, in a shrub border, and as a foundation plant. Place it where the fragrant flowers can be enjoyed.
This plant has some cultivated varieties. Burkwood viburnum (Viburnum x burkwoodii), is a related species also listed below with cultivars. Go to related species and a list of cultivars.
All common names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- Mixed border,
- Medium shrub (5-8 feet),
- Small shrub (3-5 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7
- Acid soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Alkaline soil,
- Clay soil
Seasons of Interest:
- late spring,
- mid fall,
- late fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size & Form
A rounded, dense shrub with stiff, upright branch habit.
4 to 8 feet high and wide.
Tree & Plant Care
Best in full sun to light shade for greatest flowering potential.
Soil pH adaptable, moist, well-drained soil, except for extremely wet sites.
Prune after flowering.
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.
Disease, pests, and problems
Viburnum crown borer
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to Korea and Japan
Bark color and texture
Older stems are gray in color.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Opposite; simple 2 to 4 inch long leaves in pairs; dull green to lustrous, gray-green in color.
Fall color is wine red.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Small white flowers in a 2 to 4 inch diameter, semi-snowball shaped cluster; flower buds are pink giving flowers a pinkish tinge.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Egg shaped-red to black fruit. Not showy or prolific.
Cultivars and related hybrids and their differences
Aurora Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii 'Aurora'): 6 to 8 feet high and wide; prolific deep pink-red buds open to pinkish-white.
Compact Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii 'Compactum'): Dwarf form reaching 3 to 4 feet high; dark green leaves and pinkish-white flowers
Spice Bouquet™ Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii 'N. J. Select'): 4 to 5 feet high and 5 to 6 feet wide; dark rose-pink buds open soft pink flowers
Spice Island™ Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii 'N. J. Select A'): 3 to 5 feet high and wide; red-pink buds, white flowers; dark green leaves, red fall color
Sugar N' Spice™ Koreanspice viburnum (Viburnum carlesii 'N.J. Select S'): 4 to 5 feet high and wide; dark green leaves, maroon red fall color
Burkwood viburnum (Viburnum x burkwoodii) : This hybrid is a cross between V. utile and V. carlesii. It is a densely-branched shrub reaching 8 to 10 feet high and 5 to 7 feet wide, fragrant white, 2 to 4 inch wide flat-topped cymes in April.
Mohawk Burkwood viburnum (Viburnum x burkwoodii 'Mohawk'): A hybrid of V. burkwoodii x V. carlesii; shiny red buds open to white petals with red blotch; very fragrant; broadly rounded reaching 7 to 8 feet high; dark green leaves turn a reddish purple.