Nannyberry plants (Viburnum lentago) are large native tree-like shrubs native to the U.S. They have glossy foliage that turns red in fall as well as attractive fruit. For more information about nannyberry shrubs, or information on how to grow nannyberries, read on.
Nannyberry Plant Info
Shrub or tree? You decide. Nannyberry plants mature to about 18 feet (5.5 m.) tall and 10 feet wide (3 m.), making them fit the definition of a small tree or a large shrub. It is a type of viburnum commonly grown for its ornamental appeal. Nannyberry shrubs are very ornamental with their shiny green leaves with serrated edges. Then there are the ivory flowers that appear in late spring, flat-topped inflorescences as wide as your palm. Each groups numerous tiny blossoms. These flowers develop into a colorful mixture of different colored fruits, some light green, others pale yellow or red-pink, and all in the same cluster. They darken into blue-black and mature from fall through early winter. Wild birds delight in this banquet.
How to Grow Nannyberries
Growing nannyberry viburnum shrubs isn’t difficult, considering that this is a native plant and doesn’t need to be coddled. Begin cultivation by looking for a full sun location. This will help prevent powdery mildew. They will thrive in partial shade as well. For soil, select a site that is well draining if possible. The plant will adapt to poor or compacted soils, dry or wet soils as well though. It also adapts well to moderate heat, drought, and urban pollution. Nannyberry care is fairly simple. Nannyberry shrubs thrive in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 through 8, so those in hot climates are out of luck. You won’t spend much time nursing these shrubs. Nannyberry plants have no serious pest or disease problems. The only thing to watch for is powdery mildew if air circulation is poor. This disease appears in late summer, covering the shiny leaves with whitish powder. Although making the leaves less attractive, powdery mildew doesn’t damage the plant. One other issue requiring nannyberry care is the plant’s tendency to sucker abundantly as it gets older. It can form a large thicket or colony. If you do not want this to happen, make removing suckers part of your care regimen.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.
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