Brandywine Viburnum – beautiful, adaptable, and reliable
The whole Viburnum family are great shrubs, but today we’ll be talking about one that is looking more and more beautiful everyday – Viburnum nudum ‘Brandywine’. Because the berries are desirable to birds and the flowers to pollinators, this is the ideal shrub for your garden to become a certified wildlife habitat!
All viburnums, Brandywine included, grow well in sun or part shade, although in our southern Delaware summer heat, I’d give them some afternoon shade. They are easily grown in average, medium to moist, well drained soils. They can take a short flood but not standing water. They can take a little salt too. Slightly acidic soils, like we have here, are best. Average soil fertility is fine; most plants do not need extra fertilizer. They can get to about 6’ tall, and almost as wide. Prune after flowering if you really need to, but leave some flower clusters for fall berry production. This is a great plant for creating a hedge on your property so plant them 6-7’ on center (6 – 7’ from the center of one plant to the center of the next) or just use it as an outstanding focal point in the landscape. All in all, this is an easy, low maintenance shrub. Many viburnums need another related plant to cross pollinate and sent berries, but not Brandywine – it is self fertile. It does make a good pollinator for Winterthur viburnums, though.
If you plant one or more of these, you will be rewarded with 3 seasons of beauty. In spring, about May if we don’t have a cold, damp spring, Brandywine will have flat clusters of creamy white flowers. The emerging glossy, dark green leaves perfectly set off the fluffy flower cluster. And, speaking of the leaves, they are spectacular. Oval, medium sized, they are a shiny deep green; they look like they’ve been sprayed with leaf shine. In fall they turn a deep glossy mahogany red, absolutely spectacular. They are starting to change color now. To top all this off, Brandywine has one of the most beautiful berry displays of all. The berries start off small and green – as they get larger they turn a pretty, bright pink. Then they change to different shades of blue – you’ll have pink, and blue berries at the same time!
While there is no such thing as a perfect plant, this one comes close. Easy care, medium size, and outstanding beauty all contribute to making this a great plant for you!
by Liz Nalle, contributor to the Coastal Point Newspaper