Snowball (Viburnum opulus)

Viburnum opulus, a lovely garden shrub

There are many shrubs, but they are resistant and decorative in equal parts ... there are some less. The Viburnum opulus It is one of those species that cannot be missing in any garden, not even on a sunny terrace.

It produces so many flowers in the shape of balls that they are a real wonder, and its maintenance is really simple, so much so that the experience you have taking care of plants will not matter: with this bush you will enjoy.

Origin and characteristics

The fruits of Viburnum opulus are red

Image - Wikimedia / Quartl

Known as snowball, mundillo or sauquillo, this species is native to Europe, Northwest Africa, Asia Minor, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It is a deciduous shrubby plant that reaches a maximum height of 5 meters, being the usual 2m. Its leaves are oval in shape, divided into 3-5 toothed lobes covered by villi, and are green except in autumn when they turn scarlet before falling.

The flowers, which sprout in spring, are white and are grouped in corymbs 5 to 10 centimeters in diameter. They are made up of inner flowers, which are fertile, and the outer ones, somewhat larger, which only serve as a lure. Once pollinated, they produce bright red berries about 8mm in size that are edible to animals except humans.

How to take care of the Viburnum opulus?

Viburnum opulus is a lovely garden shrub

Image - Flickr / FD Richards

Do you want to have a copy in your garden or patio? Provide the following care:


It is a plant that has to be placed abroad, either in full sun or in semi-shade (where it has more light than shade, since it needs it to have a good development and, above all, to flourish).

Its roots are not invasive, but it is advisable to plant it at a distance of at least 2 meters from walls, walls, etc.


It depends on where you are going to grow it:

  • the garden: grows in deep, fertile, well-drained and slightly damp soils.
  • Flower pot: fill it with universal growing medium (for sale here!) mixed with perlite (for sale here!) in equal parts.


El Viburnum opulus It is a plant that does not like drought, but waterlogging is not to its liking either. Prefers to grow in soil that is always slightly moist, but without going to the extreme. Therefore, at least at the beginning - until you gain some experience - we advise you to check the humidity of the soil before watering, either by inserting a thin wooden stick or with a digital meter.

Even if you have it in a pot, weigh it once watered and again after a few days. This way you will know more or less when to water because dry soil weighs much less than wet soil.


Viburnum opulus is an easy-to-care shrub

Must be paid in spring and summer with manure if it is on the ground, or with liquid fertilizers like this guano that they sell here! following the instructions specified on the package.


If you want to multiply your snowball, you can do it by seeds, cuttings or layers. Let's see how to proceed in each case:


Phase 1 - Artificial stratification in winter
  1. First, you have to fill a tupperware -that has a lid- with vermiculite (for sale here!) previously moistened.
  2. Next, sow the seeds, and sprinkle them with sulfur, which is an excellent anti-fungal remedy.
  3. Then cover them with more vermiculite.
  4. Next, put the tupperware in the fridge, in the dairy, fruit, etc. section.
  5. Finally, once a week and for 3 months, take the tupperware out of the fridge and remove the lid for a few minutes in order to renew the air.
Phase 2 - Seedling

After three months, plant them in a seedling tray (like this one they sell here!) or in individual pots putting a maximum of two seeds in each one with universal growing substrate.

Place the seedbed outside, in semi-shade, and always keep it moist but not waterlogged. So if all goes well they will germinate throughout the spring or summer.


Towards the end of spring or summer, pieces of soft / slightly hard wood about 30 centimeters long are cut, the base is impregnated with liquid rooting hormones (get it No products found.) and are planted in individual pots with vermiculite.

They will root after about 15-20 days.


Can be multiplied by simple layering in spring, which is done in a simple way. In fact, you only have to take a long branch -without cutting it-, bury it in the ground leaving the leaves free, and fasten it with nails or stones so that it does not rise and protrude.

After a year and a half you will be able to separate it and have, thus, two copies.


It resists frosts of up to -18ºC.

What uses does it have?

Viburnum opulus is a deciduous shrub


It is a very decorative plant, which looks great in any corner, either as an isolated specimen, in groups or alignments. In addition, it can be grown without problems in a pot.


The fruits of this species are toxic, with a bitter and acid taste. Nevertheless, in northern Europe they are consumed with honey and flour, or as a substitute for blueberries. They are also used to prepare drinks or sauces, always using fruits that have finished ripening and in small quantities.

Still, we recommend caution, as an overdose causes vomiting.

What did you think of the snowball?

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4 comments, leave yours

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  1.   Olga Hoffman said


    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Thank you very much for commenting, Olga.

  2.   Gina garrido said

    Where do I get the snowball

    1.    Monica Sanchez said

      Hello Gina.

      We recommend looking in nurseries or online gardening stores. Maybe you will find it in one.

      Good luck.