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Viburnum opulus 'Compactum'

Guelder rose

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Key information

Plant type

Deciduous shrub

Flower colour



Autumn colour, Flowers, Fruit, Attractive to wildlife



Skill level


photo by Neil Holmes, copyright GAP Photos (18968)

Plant details

A familiar native shrub of moist hedgerows, the guelder rose or European cranberry bush is a large spreading bush with vigorous greyish stems and maple-like leaves, which colour up an opulent red in autumn. It is too burly for most gardens, where 'Compactum' is a more suitable choice, growing up to 1.5m (5ft) high, but usually less. Despite its reduced size, it flowers and fruits freely, the conspicuous lace-cap heads of white summer blooms giving way to bright-red, translucent berries, which often survive into winter. To propagate, take cuttings in summer. Viburnum is best grown in sunny or semi-shaded sites in deep, fertile, not too dry soil. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit.

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Genus: Viburnum

Species: opulus

Cultivar: Compactum

Plant type: Deciduous shrub

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Autumn colour, Flowers, Fruit, Attractive to wildlife

Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade

Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Moist, Boggy

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 150cm

Spread: 150cm

Time to take cuttings: June to July

Flowering period: May to June

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