Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Chinese Snowball Bush
Viburnum macrocephalum 'Sterile'

Family: Adoxaceae (a-dox-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Viburnum (vy-BUR-num) (Info)
Species: macrocephalum (mak-roh-SEF-uh-lum) (Info)
Cultivar: Sterile

Synonym:Viburnum arborescens
Synonym:Viburnum keteleeri

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 12 photos.
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4 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive giegertree On Sep 21, 2014, giegertree from Savannah, GA wrote:

In coastal Georgia, this large shrub/small tree will bloom twice a year -- the grandest is in late March/early April, but it will also flower quite nicely in September/October and then intermittently across the winter during mild spells.

Positive jqpublic On Mar 9, 2008, jqpublic from Cary, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

There is a row of these plants on a few roads I drive by, and every spring they put on the best show ever!!! I love these plants and want some!! If I were to recommend a way to plant them I think planting them as a border give it the most dramatic effect!

Positive ViburnumValley On Jan 28, 2006, ViburnumValley from Scott County, KY (Zone 5b) wrote:

Viburnum macrocephalum, Chinese snowball, is the epitome of the old-fashioned one-season plant. It knows how to flower, flower big, and then retire for the year. It carries no fragrance and is sterile, so sets no fruit.

If a gardener has room for 15-20' tall and wide shrub (think a big shrub border to lose it in), go for it. Expect the reward of the massive (up to 8" diameter) flowers annually. If restraint is required, the plant can be cut back severely with the loss of the next year's blooms, but returned vigor and flowers in following years.

Positive Southerngurl On Feb 22, 2005, Southerngurl from Yellville, AR wrote:

We have one of these growing in the yard. It is beautiful when in bloom. It will load itself down so much that sometimes the limbs can really droop however. I never touch it, it has no problems, just takes care of itself.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Birmingham, Alabama
Gadsden, Alabama (2 reports)
Yellville, Arkansas
Lake City, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Cleveland, Georgia
Lilburn, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Olathe, Kansas
Clermont, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Short Hills, New Jersey
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Weaverville, North Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
Columbia, South Carolina
Florence, South Carolina
Lawrenceburg, Tennessee
Lookout Mountain, Tennessee
Broaddus, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Alexandria, Virginia
Ashburn, Virginia

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