Guelder rose, Viburnum opulus, is a beautiful native shrub, with attractive flowers, foliage and autumn berries. It’s a good choice for shady borders or woodland-style planting schemes. It’s a favourite with wildlife too – birds eat the berries, moths and other insects lay eggs on the leaves and pollinators feast on the large, lacey white flowers that appear from late spring to early summer. It’s often grown as part of a native wildlife hedge.
How to grow guelder rose
Plant guelder rose in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to full shade. Very little pruning is required – simply trim to shape after flowering, taking care not to remove all spent blooms as these turn into beautiful red berries. Mulch in spring with a thick layer of well-rotted manure or leaf mould.
More on growing guelder rose:
- Carol Klein’s favourite berries
- Eight of the best viburnums to grow
- Carol Klein’s favourite plants for autumn colour
Where to grow guelder rose
For best results grow guelder rose in moist but well-drained soil in full sun to full shade.
How to plant guelder rose
Plant pot-grown guelder rose at any time of year, digging a generous hole and adding mycorrhizal fungi and well-rotted compost for healthy growth. Plant bare-root shrubs in autumn to spring.
How to care for guelder rose
Guelder rose doesn’t need much pruning once established. If maintaining the shape of the shrub remove a fifth of older and weaker growth after flowering, cutting stems right back to the base. In spring, add a mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plant.
How to propagate guelder rose
Guelder rose is most easily propagated by taking softwood cuttings in summer and semi-hardwood cuttings in autumn.
Growing guelder rose: problem solving
Guelder rose can be affected by viburnum beetle. The larvae attack leaves in spring and the adult beetles continue the damage in summer, so plants can lose all their leaves. However, plants usually survive this damage. Try to pick or spray off the bugs when spotted and keep affected plants well watered and fed. Leaf spot can also cause some damage.
Guelder roses to grow
- Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’ – this cultivar is known as the snowball bush, for its gorgeous, white clusters of flowers in late spring that are a favourite with florists. However, these are sterile, so it will not produce winter fruit, but the leaves turn an attractive red in autumn before dropping.