Shrubs & Hedges

Snowball Bush Guide: Common Questions Answered

Blair Brown

Blair is the Content Marketing Manager at, and though she's not your traditional gardener, the planting world is definitely growing on her (pun intended!). She's enjoyed digging into plant care and maintenance and growing her plant collection, especially with exotic indoor varieties.

Written by

Blair Brown

The Snowball Bush is easy to care for and maintain and makes a great focal point for the center of a large yard or for the corner of a foundation planting. It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant for its flowers and berries. Being semi-evergreen, Snowballs create a beautiful spring and fall display in any landscape.

And in the late spring, this deciduous, colored flowering shrub will be covered with masses of pure white, snowball-like flower clusters, with leaves that turn purplish-red before dropping in the fall.

Types of Snowball Bushes

Different types of Snowball Bushes require different types of care. The Snowball Bush or its scientific name, viburnum plicatum, is sometimes simply called Snowball Viburnum for short.

Different Snowball Viburnum Types Include:

  • V. burkwoodii - Smaller with a fragrant, spicy aroma, this variety grows to 10 feet tall.
  • V. carlcephalum - Known as 'fragrant snowball,' this variety is smaller with a more noticeable fragrance.

Snowball viburnum should not be confused with Hydrangea arborescens. Though care for both has similarities, it's important to know which variety you have.

Common Names of Snowball Viburnum Bushes Include:

  • American Snowball Tree
  • Japanese Snowball Tree
    • Easy-growing yet super elegant, the Japanese Snowball Bush is known for its full white blooms and vibrant green foliage that welcome spring. The Snowball's flowers emerge a striking lime-green in late spring and gradually turn to snowy-white in mid-May, retaining their color for several weeks at a time.
  • Blue Snowball Bush
  • Chinese Snowball Bush

When Do Snowball Bushes Bloom?

Eastern Snowball Bushes begin to bloom in late spring, while Japanese Snowball Trees provide fragrant bulbs earlier in the spring season.

How Fast Do Snowball Bushes Grow?

The tallest varieties of Viburnum grow up to two feet per year. Shorter dwarf varieties grow at a slower pace. When fully mature, the Snowball Bush will grow large, up to 12 tall and 15 feet wide.

Snowball Bush Care

How to Plant a Snowball Bush in 7 Steps

1. Remove and discard grass and weeds from the planting site.

2. Dig a hole that is shallow and broad.

The hole should be about three times the diameter of the root ball, but no deeper than the root ball.

3. Carefully remove the snowball bush from its container and, using your hands, gently loosen any outside roots from the sides and bottom.

Take care not to break or damage the roots of the bush.

4. Place the bush in the center of the hole so the root crown is about 1.5 to 2 inches above the surrounding ground level.

The root crown is the part of a bush where the trunk meets the roots.

5. Backfill the hole with the original soil.

6. Water thoroughly right after planting to soak the planting area and settle the soil.

7. Spread mulch or wood chips about 4 inches deep over the entire planting area to help retain moisture and cut down on weeds.

How Far Apart Should Snowball Bushes Be Planted?

You should provide at least 12 feet between bushes if planting in a row, and keep them pruned. Snowball Bushes should be planted in tracts that are at least three times as wide as they are tall. At maturity, Snowball Bushes can be very tall and wide (up to 20 feet in each direction for Viburnum macrocephalum), and their branches shoot out from the center.

Can You Start a Snowball Bush from a Cutting?

If your Snowball is already mature, you can grow more bushes using cuttings from a healthy plant. Test branches to see if the wood is soft. If the branch bends before breaking in two, it can be cut off using sharp pruning shears and planted stem-down to grow new bushes.

When to Plant Your Snowball Bush

Whether you're transplanting a sapling, using cuttings, or planting a mature Snowball Bush, knowing the best times to plan helps you understand what to expect.

The best time to plant a Snowball Bush is either in the fall or spring, depending on the variety of the bush, its age, and your hardiness zone.

Where to Plant Your Snowball Bush

Snowball Bushes flourish when given six to eight hours of full sun outdoors.

These bushes need moist, humus-rich, moderately alkaline soil that drains well, so you may need to amend the soil before planting.

How to Grow a Snowball Bush

Just before spring, feed your Snowball Bush with a water-soluble fertilizer or granulated fertilizer. Keep the soil moist by applying mulch.

Care for Snowball Viburnums

How to Prune a Snowball Bush

Snowball Bush pruning best practices depend on the type of Snowball you have and on your goal with pruning. The Snowball Viburnum is a deciduous shrub, so it sheds its leaves in the fall and blooms form on old wood.

If you're training your Snowball Viburnum Shrub to provide a lot of blooms, prune it back in spring after it has begun blooming to encourage more growth. On the other hand, if the branches have become too long and you're more concerned with shaping a mature bush, cut back one-third of the canes in fall to thin out the base.

Get Snowball Bushes Delivered

The fastest way to begin enjoying a Snowball Bush is by planting a mature plant. Snowball bushes make a great statement in your garden and can be planted in succession to create a living privacy fence. Shop for Viburnum Shrubs today, and make your landscape the envy of the neighborhood!

Blair Brown

Blair is the Content Marketing Manager at, and though she's not your traditional gardener, the planting world is definitely growing on her (pun intended!). She's enjoyed digging into plant care and maintenance and growing her plant collection, especially with exotic indoor varieties.

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