Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 256 Viburnum odoratissimum

Common Names: sweet viburnum Family: Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle Family)
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sweet viburnum
In early spring the sweet viburnum blooms producing cluster of small waxy flowers that are pleasantly fragrant (although some may find the pollen irritating).


Potentially a very large evergreen shrub or small tree, at maturity sweet viburnum may reach 20 ft (6.1 m) in height and 15 ft (4.6 m) wide. The leaves are smooth, bright green and about 6 in (15.2 cm) long. They are arranged oppositely on green stems in such a way that a healthy plant gives the impression of being quite robust and dense. Very mature specimens that have not been pruned will look more open and treelike. Tiny white flowers are held in great panicles in spring and are pleasingly fragrant. Berries are drupes that turn from red to black and are attractive to birds but they are only sparingly produced in Florida. Mature specimens are more likely to fruit.


Viburnum odoratissimum is native to Asia. It is often planted in the southern United States and in other semi-tropical areas.


Light: Full sun to light. Tolerates moderate shade, but may become scraggly under low light conditions. Moisture: Average to moist. Hardiness: USDA Zones 8 - 10. Propagation: Cuttings, layerage. Roots easily.
sweet viburnum trimmed as small trees
Sweet viburnum is a fast growing evergreen that can be sheared into a tight hedge, trimmed up into treelike forms as in the photo or left to grow naturally into large shrubby mounds or small trees.


Us sweet viburnum as a hedge plant when a tall, thick, impenetrable screen is desired. In Central and South Florida, it is used for noise control, often by planting as a buffer between neighborhoods and highways. It may also be pruned to be tall but narrow, and used for complete enclosure of patio gardens. Plant sweet viburnum as a specimen and leave it to its own devices to become an attractive, evergreen tree that is perfect for small or formal settings. Do not plant too close to buildings or other structures. When used as a hedge or screen the experts recommend planting this shrub 5 ft (1.5 m) apart (as measured from the center of each plant). Considerably more space may be left between shrubs when full growth is intended.


It is one of the most gratifying shrubs to use as a hedge, because of its fast rate of growth and the beautiful springtime fragrance. It's beautiful, versatile and rarely bothered by pests or disease.

The sandanqua (Viburnum suspensum) is another fragrant viburnum that is grown in warmer Zones (8-10) where it blooms in late winter. The leatherleaf viburnum (Viburnum rhytidophyllum) is another handsome evergreen cousin, that although not fragrant, is hardy from Zone 5-7. The David viburnum (Viburnum davidii) is great for low evergreen hedges in cool summer areas like the Pacific Northwest.

Jack Scheper 05/29/97; updated 5/10/04

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Viburnum species profiled on Floridata:

Viburnum davidii

( David viburnum )

Viburnum dentatum

( arrow-wood, southern arrow-wood, arrow-wood viburnum )

Viburnum dilatatum

( linden viburnum )

Viburnum nudum

( possomhaw, smooth witherod, wild raisin, possum-haw )

Viburnum obovatum

( Walter's viburnum, small viburnum, small leaf viburnum )

Viburnum odoratissimum

( sweet viburnum )

Viburnum plicatum

( doublefile viburnum, Japanese snowball bush )

Viburnum rhytidophyllum

( leatherleaf viburnum )

Viburnum rufidulum

( rusty black-haw, southern black-haw )

Viburnum suspensum

( sandanqua viburnum, sandankwa viburnum )

Viburnum x burkwoodii

( Burkwood viburnum, snowball viburnum )

Viburnum x pragense

( Prague viburnum, Pragense viburnum )

Viburnum ‘Eskimo’

( Eskimo viburnum,service viburnum )

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