Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 1015 Viburnum obovatum

Common Names: Walter's viburnum,small viburnum,small leaf viburnum Family: Adoxaceae (moschatel Family)
Image Gallery

Walter's viburnum
Within its range in the southeastern United States, Walter's viburnum is one of the first hardwood species to bloom it's showy blossoms often appearing in late winter.


Walter's viburnum is a shrub or small tree with small, shiny, opposite leaves only about 1-2 in (2.5-5 cm) long. The plant can get up to 30 ft (9 m) tall, but is more commonly 6-15 ft (2-4 m) or less in height. It often has multiple trunks and sometimes, under ideal growing conditions, sends up suckers as it spreads itself into a thicket. Young twigs have a reddish fuzz that is quite pretty. Walter's viburnum stays evergreen in mild winters. The tiny flowers are creamy white with five petals and arranged in flat topped cymes that are 2-3 in (5-7 cm) across. Emerging in early spring along with the new shoots and leaves, they are mildly fragrant and very showy. The quarter inch (6 mm) fruits, maturing in late summer, are at first red, then ripen to black.

'Mrs. Schiller's Delight' is a dwarf selection especially suited to formal hedging. This cultivar was named by Florida plantsman Steve Riefler for a friend whose name resembles 'Schillings', as in Ilex vomitoria 'Schillings', the similar looking and very popular dwarf cultivar of yaupon holly.

Walter's viburnum
Given a trim now and then and Walter's viburnum makes a fine addition to the landscape as demonstrated here in Steve's yard.


Viburnum obovatum is native to the southeastern American coastal Plain from South Carolina, through central Florida, to Alabama. It is usually found in acidic moist woods, near streams or in swamps.


Light: Walter's viburnum blooms more profusely in full sun, but still grows very well in part shade. Moisture: In nature, Walter's viburnum can be found growing in moist to wet soils, often in swamps. Once established, however, it does just fine in normal landscape situations, even without supplemental watering. Just be sure to water very frequently for the first six months or year after planting out. Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 - 9. Walter's viburnum occurs naturally only in zones 8 and 9, but it appears to be hardy to zone 6, and it might do okay in zone 10. Propagation: Cuttings from new, fast growing shoots in spring root readily. Semihardwood cuttings in fall can be rooted. The seeds require a period of dormancy and can take 2-3 years to germinate.
Walter's viburnum
This Walter's viburnum grows at the edge of a wetlands along a busy highway where we enjoy it's flower display from the comfort of a speeding automobile.


Walter's viburnum is a very dense shrub and as such quite suitable for hedging. It tolerates hard pruning and could be made into topiary or formal hedges. Left to its own growth pattern, Walter's viburnum becomes a beautiful shrub with a dense, rounded form, eventually developing into a small tree with a broad spreading crown. A group of Walter's viburnums would make a fine native species hedge or screen; a single tree, a handsome specimen. Butterflies sip nectar from the spring flowers and birds and other critters eat the autumn drupes. The densely twiggy bush is a favorite nesting site for cardinals and other song birds.


There are about 150 species of viburnums in temperate latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, and a couple dozen in North America.

Steve Christman 3/24/06, 1/20/17

Master Plant List

Click here to find plants in our Encyclopedia using the Master Plant List grid. Use this widget to search, sort and filter Floridata's plant database to easily locate Plant Profile pages. Use the dropdown menus to filter the grid to display items matching the selected Plant Type and Feature tags.

Plant Type Tags

tree icon
shrub icon
perennial plant icon
aquatic plant icon
cactus and succulents icon
grass icon
vine icon

Feature Tags

Attracts Birds
Attracts butterflies
Attracts Hummingbirds
Edible Plants
Cutting and Arranging
for pots and containers
drought tolerant plants
grows in wet soils
ornamental fruits
fall color
foliage plants
easy to grow plants
fast growing

Site Search

Use Google to search all of the pages on Floridata including the Plant Profile pages

Viburnum species profiled on Floridata:

Viburnum acerifolium

( mapleleaf viburnum,dockmackie )

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 opulus

( European cranberry bush,Whitten tree,highbush cranberry,cranberry bush,Guelder rose )

Viburnum plicatum

( doublefile viburnum, Japanese snowball bush )

Viburnum prunifolium

( blackhaw viburnum,blackhaw,sweet haw,nanny-berry )

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 )

More Floridata:

Copyright 2015 Floridata.com LLC