Variegated Viburnum Plants: Tips On Growing Variegated Leaf Viburnums

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Viburnum is a popular landscape shrub that produces attractive springtime flowers followed by colorful berries that attract songbirds to the garden well into winter. When the temperature begins to drop, the foliage, depending on the variety, lights up the autumn landscape in shades of bronze, burgundy, bright crimson, orange-red, bright pink or purple.

This huge, diverse group of plants includes more than 150 species, most of which display glossy or dull green foliage, often with contrasting pale undersides. However, there are a few types of variegated leaf viburnums with splashy, mottled leaves. Read on to learn more about three popular types of variegated viburnum.

Variegated Viburnum Plants

Here are the three most commonly grown types of variegated viburnum plants:

Wayfaringtree viburnum (Viburnum lantana ‘Variegatum’) – This evergreen shrub displays large green leaves splashed with flecks of gold, chartreuse and creamy yellow. This is, indeed, a colorful plant, beginning with creamy blooms in spring, followed by light green berries that soon ripen from red to reddish purple or black by late summer.

Laurustinus viburnum (Viburnum tinus ‘Variegatum’) – Viburnums with variegated leaves include this stunner, also known as Laurenstine, with glossy leaves marked with irregular, creamy yellow edges, often with patches of pale green in the leaf centers. The fragrant blooms are white with a slight pink tint, and the berries are red, black or blue. This viburnum is evergreen in zones 8 through 10.

Japanese viburnum
(Viburnum japonicum ‘Variegatum’) – Types of variegated viburnum include the variegated Japanese viburnum, a shrub that shows off shiny, dark green leaves with distinct, golden yellow splashes. The star-shaped white flowers have a slightly sweet aroma and the clusters of berries are bright red. This gorgeous shrub is evergreen in zones 7 through 9.

Caring for Variegated Leaf Viburnums

Plant variegated leaf viburnums in full or partial shade to preserve the color, as variegated viburnum plants will fade, losing their variegation and turning solid green in bright sunlight.

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