Bailey Compact ViburnumViburnum trilobum ‘Bailey Compact’
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Viburnum trilobum ‘Bailey Compact’
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Bailey Compact Viburnum is a spectacular shrub in fall, turning brilliant scarlet from top to bottom, reminiscent of the invasive burning bush (Euonymus). It is a compact selection of the native highbush cranberry, growing only 5 or 6 feet tall and wide. The attractive leaves are divided into 3 lobes, and stained burgundy in spring. Green through summer, they turn bright scarlet in fall, much stronger coloring than normal in this shrub. Grow it as a specimen in beds or out in woodland settings, or as a neat hedge that needs no trimming. Older plants may produce white flowers and red berries, but this bush is primarily grown for its amazing fall coloring.
Planting the Bailey Compact Viburnum in full sun will give the strongest leaf colors, but it grows readily in partial shade as well. Moist, well-drained soil is preferred, but not vital, and established plants are tolerant of ordinary summer drought. It is very cold-hardy, growing even in zone 2. It has no serious pests or diseases, and doesn’t need trimming to keep its neat, rounded form.
Fall in small gardens was once a blazing affair, with the Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) a popular and reliable shrub, turning brilliant scarlet in fall, bringing fire and brilliance to every garden. Since then that plant – an invasive alien species – has fallen out of favor, and is seen less and less. The best fall colors of course come from trees like maple and red oak, but these are too large for small gardens and small spaces. That’s why the Bailey Compact Viburnum is so exciting, because it is an excellent replacement for the outdated Burning Bush. Growing a compact and dense 5 to 6 feet tall and wide without trimming, it bursts into glory in fall, turning vibrant scarlets from head to foot. Yet this is a selected form of the native highbush cranberry, so by planting it you are growing our native flora, not imported and potentially invasive exotics. In spring and summer it has attractive lobed leaves, and makes a great background shrub, specimen on a lawn, a no-trimming needed hedge, or a plant to add to a natural woodland. However you choose to use it in your particular garden, you will love it, and you will soon be eagerly waiting each year for fall and the fiery display it is going to bring you.
The Bailey Compact Viburnum is a dense deciduous shrub, and a selection of the native northern highbush cranberry. It has twiggy branches to the ground, growing steadily into a rounded globe between 5 and 6 feet tall and wide. It needs no trimming to make this perfect shape – it does it naturally. The light gray to tan bark is rough to the touch, with a knobby texture, becoming more peeling on older branches. The handsome leaves sprout in spring from every branch, and they are 3 to 4 inches long, divided into three roughly-equal lobes, with pointed tips and irregular serrations along the edges. They are vaguely similar to a maple leaf, but with a wrinkled surface, and mid-green. Young leaves are flushed with dark burgundy-red and this persists around the edges for some time in spring, making an attractive show. In fall every leaf turns a wonderful, glowing, deep scarlet, rivaling any other shrub for intense fall display.
Once your plant reaches a respectable age, it may produce some flowers. These are about 5 inches across, at the ends of the new shoots, appearing shortly after the leaves. A circle of white flowers, each almost 1-inch across, surrounds a center of many tiny white flowers, similar to a lace-cap hydrangea. These are often followed by red berries in fall, which are edible and can be used for preserves, although birds often take them quickly. This variety is not a prolific bloomer, and is grown mainly for its amazing fall foliage and compact form.
For structure and accent in your beds, or out in woodland settings, Bailey Compact Viburnum is a winner. Place it where the fall colors will be clearly seen, perhaps from a house window. It can be planted 4 feet apart to make an attractive hedge which will always be neat without needing trimming. This could mark your property line, provide screening and privacy in summer, or separate one area from another.
Incredibly resistant to cold, Bailey Compact Viburnum is hardy even in bone-chilling zone 2 winters, and can be grown easily all the way into zone 7.
You can plant the Bailey Compact Viburnum is a wide range of light levels, from full sun to significant shade, but too much shade will reduce the intensity of the fall colors, so a bright, sunny spot is the ideal. It grows in most well-drained soils, preferring moist, acidic to neutral soil, but very adaptable and not at all demanding. Established plants have good resistance to ordinary dry summers, and dry conditions towards the end of summer generally enhance fall coloring.
Any minor pests or diseases can be dealt with using organic methods, such as our Neem Oil Spray, or soap sprays. With its dense natural structure, pruning or trimming is rarely needed, but you can remove any dead branches when the leaves first appear, and do any trimming you wish once the leaves are full mature, but not late in the growing season.
The American cranberry, also known as the highbush cranberry, is called Viburnum trilobum. Closely related to a very similar European species, some authorities prefer to make it a variety of that plant, calling it Viburnum opulus var. americanum. It grows wild from Newfoundland to the midwest, on both sides of the Canadian border, and in scattered locations all the way to the West Coast. It is not the plant that produces commercial cranberries, but the sour berries are edible, and high in Vitamin C. Wild bushes grow to about 12 feet tall and wide.
The bush called Bailey Compact was selected by Pat Perkins at Bailey Nurseries, St. Paul, Minnesota.
We are excited by this great replacement for the classic but invasive burning bush. you will love how easy the Bailey Compact Viburnum is to grow, and how great it looks in its scarlet leaves in fall. We are sure it is going to become a garden favorite, so order now as supplies are already tight, and our stock won’t last long.