on Wednesday, April, 28 2010 @ 02:19:45 pm (388 words)
In General [ 29729 views ]
A lot of confusion exists over the snowball bush as this common name is used for several plants, including a variety of hydrangea. Furthermore, there is a difference in appearance between the wild Viburnum opulus and the cultivated one. If one is looking to plant a particular snowball bush in one's garden then one needs to establish which particular species before heading out to the garden centre or nursery. I have found that even nurseries are often confused on which species of snowball bush they are selling, so be vigilant.
The most common snowball bushes found in gardens are the Old Fashioned Snowball Bush (Viburnum opulus ?Sterile?), Common snowball (Viburnum opulus 'Roseum'), Japanese snowball (Viburnum plicatum); and the Chinese snowball (Viburnum macrocephalum). The snowball bush in my back garden is the Viburnum opulus 'Sterile'. The Viburnum opulus 'Roseum' gets it name from the petals of the snowball turning a faint pink colour as the blooms start to fade. My snowball bush is sterile and does not produce the red berries as some of the other varieties do. The snowballs first appear as light green in colour and turn to snow-white in colour as they mature. The flower clusters can be quite large; sizes of 20 cm (8 in) are not uncommon. My Viburnum opulus blooms in the spring and the blooms will last a few weeks before they start to drop.
Snowball bushes are easy to grown and require little maintenance. While they prefer full sun, they can do well in partial shade. As with most plants, they do not like to stand in overly wet soil for long periods of time and root rot can occur if they do. You want to plant snowballs in a soil that is rich in humus and drains well. You don't want to over water; no more than once a week should maintain the water content of the soil for proper growth and flowering. Snowballs can tolerate a range of ph, either alkaline or acid soils. It is important to understand that snowballs are spring bloomers; if you prune, you should prune after the blooms are gone or you will be removing the flower buds. Snowballs, if left to grow naturally, will reach a height of 3-4 meters (10-14 feet) with a similar spread.