Tea Viburnum

Tea Viburnum Berries in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Tea Viburnum Berries (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Things that go bump in the night tend to startle us, but things that are red and shiny tend to draw us near (does this make anyone else think of Rudolph?).  And that’s exactly what Viburnum setigerum does as it dangles its branches heavily laden with ripe, luscious crimson berries.  It taunts us with beautiful fall fruit just waiting to be consumed by the resident avian population.  But, until the red decorations are devoured, usually by mid-winter, we can enjoy them as they brighten our gardens.

Viburnum setigerum shrub in A Garden For All by Kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Viburnum setigerum shrub (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

Native to central and western China, Viburnum setigerum, often called the tea viburnum, is known as one of the most prolific fruit producers in the viburnum family.  Viburnum setigerum has a suckering nature, but not overly so, and can be used in a garden or as an individual planting.  Named for its leaves once used for making tea, Viburnum setigerum’s flowers adorn the branches with 2″ white clusters in May, and are attractive to butterflies and other flying insects while in bloom.  It is tolerant of an array of soil and light conditions; from dry to boggy in full sun to part shade, but prefers moist soil for optimum berry production.  Hardy to zones 5 – 7, Viburnum setigerum can grow over 8′ tall by 8′ wide and makes a great hedge or shrub for naturalizing by a stream or wetland.  But what makes it truly stunning is the showy fall display, in a range of orange, cherry and burgundy foliage, complemented by branches overflowing with bright scarlet berries.

Tea Viburnum Branches in A Garden For All by kathy Diemer https://agardenforall.com

Tea Viburnum Branches (photo credit: Kathy Diemer)

I plant this attractive non-native near wet areas and edges of wild forest so my feathered friends will feel more comfortable coming by for a bite.  As foliage drops, there is less cover for our local birds, so you’ll often find them reluctant to come out in the open to feed.  After all, there are plenty of hungry hawks just waiting for the opportunity to feast as well.


  1. Happy Birthday Kathy!!!!

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