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Viburnum, Japanese Snowball Bush 'Sterile'

Viburnum plicatum

Family: Adoxaceae (a-dox-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Viburnum (vy-BUR-num) (Info)
Species: plicatum (ply-KAY-tum) (Info)
Cultivar: Sterile



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


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

Bessemer, Alabama

Montevallo, Alabama

El Dorado, Arkansas

Baywood-Los Osos, California

Boulder Creek, California(2 reports)

Eureka, California

Redwood City, California

San Mateo, California

Santa Ynez, California

Craig, Colorado

Lake City, Florida

New Port Richey, Florida

Atlanta, Georgia

Cumming, Georgia

Dahlonega, Georgia

Douglasville, Georgia

Evanston, Illinois

Mapleton, Illinois

Elgin, Iowa

Georgetown, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Chalmette, Louisiana

Chestertown, Maryland

Watertown, Massachusetts

Dearborn, Michigan

Dearborn Heights, Michigan

Hastings, Michigan

Walled Lake, Michigan

Isle, Minnesota

Mathiston, Mississippi

Ruth, Mississippi

Maryland Heights, Missouri

Fairmont, Nebraska

New Boston, New Hampshire

Moriarty, New Mexico

Kingston, New York

Hillsborough, North Carolina

Mooresville, North Carolina

Stoneville, North Carolina

New Richmond, Ohio

Perrysville, Ohio

Swanton, Ohio

Cheshire, Oregon

Coos Bay, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Allentown, Pennsylvania(2 reports)

Cochranville, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Tyrone, Pennsylvania

Wakefield, Rhode Island

Charleston, South Carolina

Conway, South Carolina

Easley, South Carolina

Effingham, South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Swansea, South Carolina

Knoxville, Tennessee

Lawrenceburg, Tennessee

Pulaski, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Rockport, Texas

Edmonds, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 6, 2017, momelick from Bethlehem,
United States wrote:

I bought this plant from Monrovia online about two years ago. I am in zone 6 Pennsylvania. It has lived up to my expectations except for two things. The flowers are spring only. Did anyone else mention that? And some sort of bug (or worm) loves it, so there are many eaten leaves. I don't usually spray, but I'm thinking some spring neem is in order since this is right off the patio.


On Jun 6, 2011, jmgreygoose from Maryland Heights, MO wrote:

When I was a kid in Missouri my Grandmother always said it would stay very chilly and spring wouldn't start until the snowball bushes bloomed. I have always found that to be true. It certainly was this year. Ctlvr


On Jun 6, 2011, sewgirl1 from Ottawa, Ontario,
Canada wrote:

We moved into our present home in August of 2010. I trimmed back an extremely overgrown, droopy looking, unknown species of tree. As of May, this unknown tree is LOADED with an abundance of beautiful snowball blooms! What a beautiful tree and what a wonderful surprise! I've always wanted one so it was like finding buried treasure to see it come into bloom. Needless to say I am a VERY amateur gardener, not being able to identify my treasure tree.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


On Apr 15, 2010, pink_petal from Cumming, GA wrote:

I planted this as a shrub 3 years ago and cut it back for 2 years in Autumn. Then I saw how big it can get in someone elses garden and I loved it. So did not cut it back last Autumn. Wow, it is huge. The flowers are not that big but there many of them: ARE ALL GREEN, NOT WHITE?
Question..Will the flowers turn white. Are the green flowers fertile? How do I get it to produce seed?
I love the plant though, great for blocking the view next door. Very early spring showy bush.


On Apr 12, 2010, wendymadre from Petersburg, VA wrote:

I live in Zone 7A, in Petersburg, Virginia. A friend gave me a small snowball viburnum about twelve or thirteen years ago, in a one-gallon pot. It didn't do a lot the first couple years, although it began to bloom vigorously after that. I planted it at the end of a garden wall and after about five years, I began to limb it up, in effect making it a little tree with three main trunks. It is quite lovely as a little tree, with the Fairy Rose growing next to it, as well as azaleas, ferns and artemesia. I still have to prune away any upstart stems that grow from the roots or sprout out on the trunk. The winter of 2009/2010 was colder than usual, but Snowy is full of blossom heads getting ready to open. I don't always get around to fertilizing it, but it blooms anyway.


On May 8, 2009, WigglyPaw from Hastings, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

I planted this two years ago, and its taken that long to just acclimate, like every other plant here on this farm. It seems the third year is the charm. Snowball is leafing out pretty grass green, and has green floret things happening. I will be impressed that it has survived another Michigan winter and that it is going to be blooming, and happy in this spot where I can see it when I hang laundry and go back and forth from the chickens.


On Oct 24, 2007, GardeningGramma from Elma, WA wrote:

I live in zone 7a/7b and my snowball bush does very nicely here. There are quite a few around this area. Some are very old. They take the freeze quite well.


On Apr 24, 2005, cjmslm wrote:

My snowball is beautiful. I live two blocks from the beach in Myrtle Beach, SC. The first two years it didn't do much, but then it grew up and out several feet and started blooming each spring. There are so many blooms the branches droop. I've had it about 4 years and haven't pruned it yet. It's about 8 feet tall now. It's beautiful even thought I haven't given it exceptional care. Needless to say it gets lots of sun and the winters haven't been too bad. It seems to bounce back even after severe weather (heat & cold).


On Jan 27, 2005, Todd_Boland from St. John's, NL (Zone 5b) wrote:

This selection has flowers that are essentially the same as the European Snowball Bush, V. opulus 'Sterile' or 'Roseus'. However, the foliage is typical of V. plicatum. Being streile, no fruit are produced.


On May 30, 2004, JETTYBANE from Fort Payne, AL wrote:



On Apr 24, 2004, coconuts1964 wrote:

I bought this bush two or three years ago. I thought it would remain small. Boy was I wrong. It is 6 foot tall now and has blooms everywhere. I just planted it and let it go. I trim the limbs in the late fall. I live in Kentucky.


On Apr 22, 2004, LouisianaSweetPea from Mount Hermon, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Surprisingly, this plant is growing in coastal Louisiana (Zone 9a). In the two years since it was planted, it has bloomed twice, despite being almost killed by an unusual winter freeze. This viburnum hasn't shown any spectacular growth, probably due to the summer heat (and also its total neglect), and because the freeze killed some of the top portions. Still, it is a nice-sized shrub with nice leaves and the spring blooms are beautiful.


On Jul 7, 2003, nipajo from Dallas, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

i have had great success with my snowball. it has bloomed every year. what i like is the green color that turns white. i have pruned mine every year after the bloom so i can keep it compact and that it will not get to big.


On May 30, 2003, KlamathWoman wrote:

When I was a kid there were Snowball Bushes everywhere. That was in the Klamath Falls area (Southern Oregon) where it is very arid and a high elevation. But everyone grew them, and they were huge. Now I garden in Portland, and I have not seen a Snowball Bush in many years. I don't even see them for sale in local nurseries.


On May 3, 2002, WingedJewel wrote:

This is one bush that I have in my neglected part of the yard where my kids play. I hardly ever do anything to it, but prune it trying to make is bush out. It is in partial shade and has done well for many years.