When I purchased a Blue Muffin viburnum several years ago, the sign at the garden center promised a shrub growing three to five feet tall and three to four feet wide. This was just the size I thought I needed to fit between two peony bushes on the west side of the deck off our family room.
The shrub quickly grew five feet and kept on growing until it topped out at eight feet! As a result of this unexpected growth, it has provided delightful views of white flowers in spring, blue berries in late summer, brilliant foliage in fall, and beautiful branching structure in winter.
Viburnum dentatum ‘Blue Muffin’ is easy to grow. It adapts easily to most soils as long as they are well-drained. It prefers a spot in full sun or part shade. The best floral display is reported to be in full sun, but mine is shaded by a crabapple, serviceberry and maple in the afternoon and still puts on a blooming bonanza.
Flat-topped, clear white clusters of flowers begin blooming in late May and continue well into June. The shrub produces the most flowers when another cultivar of arrowwood viburnum, like Chicago Lustre, is located nearby for cross pollination. I was unaware of this when I planted mine but, as luck would have it, three Viburnum dentatum were already growing in the vicinity.
Pea-sized vivid blue berries steal the show in late summer – at least until the birds feast on them. While attractive to songbirds, they are not to be eaten by people.
The foliage is glossy green until it turns brilliant shades of orange and burgundy in fall.
In winter, my Viburnum ‘Blue Muffin’ hosts squirrels and an abundance of birds as they reach the feeders hung in its branches.
I have let mine grow to its natural height, but Viburnum dentatum ‘Blue Muffin’ can be pruned to keep it smaller. Trim it after flowering so it has time to produce buds for next year’s flowers, but keep in mind berries will be forfeited if flowers are removed.
This shrub may send out suckers from the base of the plant. These can be left to grow or easily pruned out. I have experienced only minimal suckering.
I am so glad my little Blue Muffin grew to become such an important part of my landscape. Consider planting one in your yard and garden with me!