Prague ViburnumViburnum 'Pragenese'
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The Prague Viburnum is a very desirable shrub, because it is one of very few broad-leaf evergreens that are hardy in zone 5. It forms a large, multi-stem shrub, to about 10 feet tall, with very attractive dark-green leaves with white undersides. In spring clusters of pink buds become flat heads of near-white flowers, followed by berries that ar red, turning black. These remain on the bush well into winter. Grow this plant at the back of beds or along the edge of wooded areas. Use it for a year-round screen or grow it as a lawn specimen.
The Prague Viburnum is very easy to grow in any soil that is not always dry. It grows well in damp soil, but not if it is always very wet. It will grow in full sun, or in partial shade, and this is a very easy, low-maintenance shrub. It normally has no serious pests or diseases, and it doesn’t need regular attention. You can prune it after flowering if needed, and it can be cut to the ground and re-grown if it becomes too large.
When you compare gardens in colder zones with those in warmer ones, the biggest difference you see is the relative absence of broad-leaf evergreen shrubs in colder regions. Most of them burn and brown in winter, and for many that is a death sentence. It’s a real loss, because evergreen shrubs are ideal for background planting, foundation planting around your home, and for screening. Their year-round foliage gives permanent structure, and privacy, and helps the garden look fuller and not so bare during winter. A bush that is both hardy in zone 5 and evergreen is going to be very desirable, and with the Prague Viburnum we have found one.
The Prague Viburnum is a large, multi-stem shrub, with evergreen leaves. It is fast-growing and reaches 10 feet tall in a few years. It is almost as wide, growing to be 6 to 8 feet across, and broader in time. It is perfect for the background of larger beds, and for filling the angle of walls around your home. Planted in a row it makes a great all-year screen, and this adaptable plant, which will grow in partial shade, is perfect along the edges of wooded and natural areas too. The stems are smooth, with a light brown to gray bark. Young stems are green and softy hairy, and spread outwards, giving this plant an attractive ‘relaxed’ look.
The handsome leaves of the Prague Viburnum are a big part of its appeal. They are 2 to 4 inches long, and they are slender, with smooth edges, tapering to an elegant point. They are a very attractive rich, deep-green on the upper side, which is glossy, with an indented, leathery texture. The lower side is densely covered with short silvery hairs, and it looks almost pure white. Even in cold, exposed gardens in the Midwest the foliage remains green and attractive all winter, throughout zone 5. Even if, in a particularly severe winter, they should brown, this plant will come bouncing back, and it will soon look as good as new.
The Prague Viburnum flowers in late spring, but you will see the attractive pink buds developing at the ends of the branches early, as soon as spring begins. These are creamy-white, with a gentle fragrance, and the flat flower heads, with many small flowers in them, are a full 6 inches across. A plant in bloom is an attractive sight, adding to the general beauty of spring. By early fall the flower heads will have transformed into clusters of red berries, which then become a rich, glossy black. They last on the plant well into December, often still there through the Christmas season, before birds take them for winter food.
The Prague Viburnum grows well in both full sun and partial shade, in average to moist garden soils. It tolerates some drought, preferring damper spots, but it won’t grow in permanently flooded areas. It is very easy to grow, needing no special care at all. Pests and diseases are not significant, and deer usually leave it alone, making it ideal for planting at the edge of wooded areas. It needs no regular pruning, but if you do want to trim it a little, do this immediately after flowering, as the flower buds form at the end of branches that need a whole season of growth to mature. Older plants can have a few of the oldest branches removed at the same time, to encourage new, vigorous stems to develop. Alternatively, if a bush becomes overgrown, or damaged by a severe winter, simply cut it down to the ground and it will quickly re-sprout and replace itself with new branches.
The Prague Viburnum is a hybrid plant. Viburnums are a large group of shrubs growing all around the northern parts of the world, and in South America. There are several native American species, such as the Brandywine Viburnum, Viburnum nudum. The parents of the Prague Viburnum are Chinese shrubs, the leatherleaf viburnum, Viburnum rhytidophyllum and the service viburnum, Viburnum utile. The first of these is only evergreen to zone 6, and the second has rather small flowers, but it is heat tolerant. Europe has areas with cold winters, and Czechoslovakia certainly does. This was why in 1955 a gardener at the Prague Municipal Nursery crossed these two plants together. He captured the best features of each of them, and created a plant that was attractive, reliably evergreen, and easy to grow in both cold and warm zones.
We know how valuable broad-leaf evergreens are around the garden, and one that grows well in zone 5 is a real winner, and sure to be very popular. Take this opportunity to fill out your winter garden with green leaves, and enjoy attractive spring blooms too, with the Prague Viburnum. But order now, because this plant is only rarely available, and they will soon be gone.
The best time to plant the Prague Viburnum is in the early spring or fall. This allows the plant to establish its root system before the heat of summer or the cold of winter. However, due to its hardiness and adaptability, it can be planted at any time of the year, provided it is watered well during dry periods.
The Prague Viburnum prefers moist soil, but it is also drought-tolerant once established. Therefore, it should be watered regularly, especially during dry periods, but be careful not to overwater as it doesn’t like waterlogged soil. A good rule of thumb is to water deeply once a week during dry spells.
Due to its size and growth rate, the Prague Viburnum is not ideally suited to pot cultivation. It is a large shrub that can reach up to 10 feet in height and spread 6 to 8 feet wide. Therefore, it needs plenty of space to grow and thrive. However, if you still want to grow it in a pot, make sure to choose a very large one and be prepared to prune regularly to control its size.
Yes, the Prague Viburnum is a great plant for attracting wildlife, especially birds. Its berries, which turn from red to black in the fall, provide a valuable food source for birds during the winter months. However, it’s also resistant to deer, making it a good choice for gardens that are visited by these animals.
The Prague Viburnum is a low-maintenance plant. It doesn’t require regular pruning, but if you wish to shape the plant or control its size, it’s best to do so immediately after flowering. Additionally, removing a few of the oldest branches on older plants can help stimulate new growth. Aside from this, it requires little care, making it a great choice for gardeners of all experience levels.
Yes, the Prague Viburnum is an excellent choice for a hedge due to its size, growth rate, and dense foliage. It can reach up to 10 feet in height and spread 6 to 8 feet wide, making it ideal for creating privacy screens or windbreaks. Its attractive foliage also provides year-round interest.
The Prague Viburnum is adaptable to a variety of soil types, but it prefers well-drained, moist soil. It can tolerate some drought, but prefers damper spots. However, it won’t thrive in areas that are permanently waterlogged. It’s also tolerant of a range of soil pH levels, making it a versatile choice for many gardens.
The Prague Viburnum is a fast-growing shrub. It can reach up to 10 feet in height in just a few years, making it an excellent choice if you’re looking to quickly establish a hedge or privacy screen. Its spread is also impressive, reaching 6 to 8 feet wide and even broader over time.
The Prague Viburnum is a robust and resilient plant with few significant pest or disease problems. It’s also resistant to deer, making it a great choice for gardens that are frequented by these animals. However, like all plants, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye out for any signs of trouble and deal with them promptly to keep your plant healthy.
Yes, the Prague Viburnum is a hardy plant that can tolerate frost. It’s able to withstand cold winters and its foliage remains green and attractive throughout the winter, even in exposed gardens in colder regions. This makes it a great choice for adding year-round interest to your garden.