Viburnum, Chinese Snowball Bush 'Sterile'

Viburnum macrocephalum

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



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)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Handling plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction


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:


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


This plant is said to grow outdoors 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

Merryville, Louisiana

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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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!


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.


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.