The plant, which belongs to the honeysuckle family, reaches a height of 1 to 5 m as a shrub – depending on the species. A total of around 150 species of snowball are known, which are either a deciduous, evergreen or semi-evergreen shrub. Certain species can also be grown as potted plants on the balcony. The plant requires little maintenance and is therefore also suitable for gardening enthusiasts who still have little experience.
Table of Contents
Suitable location and optimal soil conditions
Not every type of snowball is created equal; this is particularly evident in the choice of potting soil. For example, woolly viburnum plants prefer dry, humus-rich soil, while a loamy, moist garden soil should be used for the common viburnum bushes. Overall, the substrate should be well permeable. Even a medium nutrient content of the soil is sufficient for the plant to develop well. Slightly acidic soil is particularly suitable. The choice of the location can be made quite flexible. So, both sunny and partially shaded places are suitable. However, some varieties can also be grown in full shade. If a sun-kissed species is planted in very shady areas, the vitality of the plant will decrease. The result: reduced flower formation. Therefore: The more sun the snowball bush can then enjoy, the more luxuriant the flowers will unfold. However, excessive solar radiation can also cause problems; The winter sun in particular quickly burns evergreen varieties. When choosing the location, you should also consider that the snowball bush thrives best in a place sheltered from the wind.
Depending on the location – whether partially shaded or sunny – the water supply of the plant must also be adjusted accordingly:
- If the shrub is in a sunny area, it should be watered more intensely than species that thrive in partial shade.
- During the summer, you should water regularly.
- When watering, it should be noted that the soil must never dry out completely.
- However, it should only be poured again when the top layer of soil has dried off.
- Extreme should be avoided: the snowball cannot tolerate waterlogging or extreme drought.
Cutting, fertilizing, overwintering
If the snowball is planted in a location suitable for its species, if an optimal substrate is used and if it is watered regularly, the plant still needs very little care. If the soil contains only a few nutrients, a complete fertilizer can be added. However, the fertilizer must not contain too much nitrogen, which will damage the growth of the plant. The best time for fertilization is spring. However, if the shrub is carefully mulched, there is no need for fertilization at all. Most species do not need to be pruned; However, a targeted pruning can be worthwhile in order to bring the entire shrub into shape. The best time to cut a bush is in late spring after the flowering period (in June). No new shoots should have developed yet. The first cut is made, when the shrub is around four years old. In principle, only old wood is cut off, as close to the ground as possible. Shoots that are too long are shortened accordingly. In addition, the shrub is checked for dried up and transverse parts that also wanted to be cut out. New shoots, on the other hand, must not be cut off because the new flowers will develop on them. Overall, the pruning should only be done superficially, because a radical pruning runs the risk of the shrub not blooming in the following year. The snowball bush can handle such a topiary every two years. Then the individual branches branch out much better. Shoots that are too long are shortened accordingly. In addition, the shrub is checked for dried up and transverse parts that also wanted to be cut out. New shoots, on the other hand, must not be cut off because the new flowers will develop on them. Overall, the pruning should only be done superficially, because a radical pruning runs the risk of the shrub not blooming in the following year. The snowball bush can handle such a topiary every two years. Then the individual branches branch out much better. Shoots that are too long are shortened accordingly. In addition, the shrub is checked for dried up and transverse parts that also wanted to be cut out. New shoots, on the other hand, must not be cut off because the new flowers will develop on them. Overall, the pruning should only be done superficially, because a radical pruning runs the risk of the shrub not blooming in the following year. The snowball bush can handle such a topiary every two years. Then the individual branches branch out much better. because with a radical cut there is a risk that the shrub will not bloom in the following year. The snowball bush can handle such a topiary every two years. Then the individual branches branch out much better. because with a radical cut there is a risk that the shrub will not bloom in the following year. The snowball bush can handle such a topiary every two years. Then the individual branches branch out much better.
The wintering of the snowball is easy.
- Many species of the shrub are evergreen plants that can hibernate outdoors without special precautions.
- These species are then not allowed to be fertilized during the winter.
- Some of the evergreen species that bloom as early as spring are a bit more delicate and should be protected from frost.
- Other evergreen varieties (e.g. Viburnum tinus) are best cultivated as a container plant and stored in a cold house during the winter months.
- In the case of a very hard winter, a windbreak should also be installed.
Cultivation and propagation
Various options are available for growing the snowball; cultivation in plant pots as well as within the open spaces in the garden is possible. If the plant is to be planted as a hedge or shrub, care must be taken to ensure that there is sufficient space between the individual specimens. The plants should have a space of up to 55cm on the right and left. The common viburnum is best planted as a solitary. When cultivating as a hedge or shrub, it should always be taken into account that they can reach heights of up to 3 meters. But the size of a snowball can also take on considerable proportions.
- Since only very few species are self-pollinating, several specimens usually have to be planted.
- Propagation works both with the help of cuttings and with some varieties with seeds.
- For species that throw leaves, the herbaceous cuttings are best cut in summer. However, it is possible to obtain cuttings until October.
- In the case of evergreen varieties, however, the woody cuttings are used.
Propagating the plant is very simple. In a first step, a shoot is cut off. This should then be shortened to about 10cm. It has proven useful to remove large leaves and also the flowers from the shoot so that not so much water evaporates from the parts of the plant. A suitable substrate is potting soil or a mixture of potting soil and gravel, which are mixed in equal parts. The substrate should be permeable to water. Before the cuttings are brought into the ground, they can be processed with special rooting powder; this treatment increases the success of the plant. The cuttings are well watered and grown at 20 to 30 ° C, whereby the young plants must not be exposed to the blazing sun. The cuttings thrive particularly well, when they are housed in a makeshift greenhouse made of foil and sturdy wire. When the young plants are thriving and beginning to spread, they can be repotted if necessary.
Popular snowball varieties – this makes the choice easier.
There are numerous different types of snowballs available for the hobby gardener, among which there is something suitable for every plant lover. If the plant is to be planted in the garden, species that bloom in winter are particularly interesting. The species differed from each other in particular in their flower shape.
The real snowball, for example, has round inflorescences that are somewhat similar to hydrangeas. Viburnum tinus, on the other hand – an evergreen variety that comes from the Mediterranean Sea – presents white-pink flowers and blue, metallic-shiny fruits. When scents play a role in addition to the decorative aspect, hobby gardeners like to turn to the evergreen shrub Virbunum burkwoodii, which develops deep green leaves with light pink, fragrant flowers. Viburnum farreri, which originally comes from China, is one of the particularly popular foliage-throwing species with a strong fragrance. If you want a variety with special leaves, you can fall back on the woolly snowball, which also throws leaves and forms felty leaves. The flowers, which develop between May and June, are, however, odorless. If white varieties of snowball are preferred, they can be grown with Vibrunum opulus. The plant has a particularly decorative effect next to laburnum.
Pests and diseases
The snowball bush is particularly susceptible to aphids. Different characteristics can be used to determine whether the plant is infected. On the one hand, the affected plants grow less luxuriantly when parasites have spread. On the other hand, the leaves of the snowball in particular suffer; these show clear crippling. The damage to the plant is often so great that it results in total leaf loss. Sometimes the blooming parts of the plant are also occupied, so that the bloom fails completely.
Aphids can be controlled with different methods:
- When it comes to combating aphids, the earlier the treatment, the better.
- Aphids can be fought particularly effectively with a powerful jet of water, which is applied to free-standing plants with the help of a spray nozzle.
- Potted plants are showered with water.
- Soft soap solutions are also effective.
- Oil-based agents suffocate aphids and are particularly gentle on the plant.
- The control of aphids is also possible with the help of beneficial insects; Ladybugs, for example, are suitable for this.
- Severely affected shoots are cut back.
In order to prevent the pest infestation in advance, attention should be paid to an optimal location for the plant. For example, if the plant enjoys a lot of sun, it will be less infested by the pests. Especially the cultivation should take place in full sun. In addition, care should be taken to ensure that the plant does not dry out, long periods of drought favor pest infestation. Over-fertilization – especially with nitrogenous fertilizers – should also be avoided. With plants cared for in this way, it is more difficult for the lice to spread on the plant.
The snowball can also be attacked by leaf beetles. This is where glue rings attached to the base of the bush can help.
The snowball is a very decorative plant that can be used in a variety of ways due to its biodiversity. Due to its robust and easy-care properties, the plant can be cultivated by both advanced gardeners and beginners. The snowball looks particularly pretty in garden beds, but it can also be used as a privacy screen. Although the berries are poisonous, they are used in natural medicine, for example, in cooked form. The berries are also suitable for making a soft drink. However, it must be noted that the berries are poisonous when raw.