Chindo ViburnumViburnum odoratissimum var. awabuki 'Chindo'
View more from Viburnum
30 day - ARRIVE AND THRIVE™ guaranteeLearn more
Viburnum odoratissimum var. awabuki 'Chindo'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Chindo Viburnum is certainly one of the very best evergreen shrubs you can plant. This fast-growing bush matures to be around 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide, with dense branching to the ground. The leaves are up to 8 inches long, very glossy and a dark, rich green. Spring leaves are pale green and then flush with dark pink. In late spring clusters of tiny white flowers appear, which are very fragrant. By fall these have become big bunches of red berries, which ripen to black. Use this plant for screening, foundation planting and in shrub beds. Grow it in sunny natural settings, or in a large planter.
Full sun is best for the Chindo Viburnum, but it will tolerate a little shade too. It grows well in any well-drained soil, including alkaline soils, and once established it is drought resistant. It has no pests or diseases and deer generally leave it alone. It grows best in warmer zones, or in a sheltered spot in zone 7. It can be pruned and trimmed, but it is best left to mature naturally so that it flowers and fruits well.
Viburnums are one of those plants that are underappreciated. There are many, and some are commonly grown but not in fact very interesting – which is probably why the name doesn’t excite many gardeners. It should though, and especially if you are lucky enough to live where the Chindo Viburnum will grow. Described by experts as ‘a noble shrub’, ‘a magnificent species’ and ‘a terrific addition to any sunny landscape’, this plant is sure to please on many fronts. It makes a fantastic fast-growing evergreen screen and a rounded background shrub for beds or foundation planting. It is also one of the most striking Viburnums, with large, very glossy leaves that are red in spring, plus deliciously fragrant white flowers and big clusters of red berries in fall – a great all-round addition to your garden you will certainly adore.
The Chindo Viburnum is a medium-sized evergreen broad-leaf shrub, with a full, rounded form and branches to the ground. It grows one or two feet a year and reaches 10 or 12 feet tall and about 8 feet wide. If unpruned it may in time grow a few feet taller. The branches are thick and sturdy, covered with many tiny grey ‘freckles’ that are actually lenticels, tiny ‘breathing holes’ for the stem. It has large leaves that are extremely glossy and lustrous – it is sometimes even called the mirror-leaf viburnum for this – and they are 3 to 8 inches long, smooth and lustrous tapering ovals in a rich, dark green color. New spring leaves begin pale green, then become flushed with deep reddish-pink, making a great spring accent before they mature to dark green.
In late spring mature bushes produce clusters of small white flowers at the ends of the branches, and these have a sweet fragrance that spreads around the plant, to delightful effect. As fall approaches you will see that these have developed into clusters of berries, at first green, but then becoming a rich dark-red. A bush with its berries is a great sight and a terrific highlight of the fall garden. As the berries ripen further they turn black, lasting well on the plant until they attract the attention of hungry birds, who eat them as a valuable winter food. This shrub needs to reach maturity before it flowers very much, but your patience will be rewarded.
The Chindo Viburnum is an obvious choice for a dense screen, and it is perfect for planting along a boundary or fence. It doesn’t need trimming, although it can be trimmed if you wish to, although this will reduce blooms and berries. Plant at 4-foot intervals for a dense screen, and at 6 or 7-feet for a more open effect. With its glossy foliage and so much seasonal interest, this is also a great background plant in your shrub beds or planted between windows or in corners around your home. It would look terrific on the sunny side of a wooded area. One or a cluster would look excellent on a lawn, or beside a patio, and it could also be planted into a large tub.
The Chindo Viburnum should be planted in a sheltered spot in zone 7, and it grows well in all warmer zones, all the way to southern Florida and California.
Full sun or partial shade are best for the Chindo Viburnum. Plenty of sun will give the most flowers and berries, but it will tolerate several hours a day of shade without much problem. It grows well in just about any kind of soil that is well-drained, from sand to clay and also on alkaline, limestone soils. It prefers some moisture, but established plants have good drought resistance, and need very little attention.
This plant is low-maintenance, and it can be left to grow with no particular attention. It doesn’t suffer from pests or diseases, and it is one of the few viburnums that is normally ignored by deer – although those critters will eat anything if they are hungry enough. You can prune in late winter to control the size, removing crowded or weak branches and shortening back long stems a little. Any unruly growth in summer can also be trimmed, but don’t over-prune (or don’t prune at all) if you want lots of flowers and berries.
There are many species of Viburnum growing around the world, and the sweet viburnum, Viburnum odoratissimum, can be found all the way from India through China and into Japan. It was first introduced into the West in 1818. The plants that grow in Taiwan and Japan are distinctive, with very glossy leaves, and these were originally called Viburnum awabuki, a name that is still commonly used, but no longer valid, as these Japanese plants are now seen as simply a variety of the sweet viburnum.
Jindo Island is a large island to the southwest of South Korea. It was in a schoolyard there that in 1985, while on a plant-collecting expedition with the U.S. National Arboretum, Dr. James Chester Raulston found a particularly handsome example of this bush. He brought stems back to America and it was propagated and distributed through the Raulston Arboretum as the variety ‘Chindo’. Raulston was a teacher at the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University, a great innovator and promoter of new plants for American gardens. He died tragically in a car accident in 1996 when only 56.
If J C Raulston loved this plant, that is a great recommendation. It is certainly one of the most outstanding viburnums available, and still in short supply. We snatched up a batch of plants when we found them, but we know they will go fast to clients in the know, who seek the best. Order now or sadly, you could miss out on this beauty.