The Complete Guide for Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum Prunifolium) Care

The Blackhaw Viburnum, otherwise known as the Viburnum Prunifolium or Blackhaw, Smooth Blackhaw, Blackhaw Viburnum, Smooth Blackhaw Viburnum, Stagbush, Viburnum bushii, Viburnum prunifolium var. bushii, Viburnum prunifolium var. globosum, is a well-known shrub plant native to the Southeast, Northeast, and the Southwest of the United States.

Best known for its low maintenance and fast growth, this shrub will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its bronze-colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, this is exactly what we’ll cover in this Blackhaw Viburnum Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Blackhaw Viburnum are the following:

  • Water: The Blackhaw Viburnum needs water regularly and more often in hot weather until it’s established.
  • Light: Keep your Viburnum Prunifolium in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Blackhaw Viburnum in soil with moist but well-draining to well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, loam, and clay.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Blackhaw Viburnum is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Blackhaw Viburnum belongs to the Viburnaceae family, the genus Viburnum and the species Prunifolium, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Viburnum Prunifolium (vy-BER-num proo-ni-FOH-lee-um).

As with other Viburnum’s, the Blackhaw Viburnum is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

The Blackhaw Viburnum is a plant native to Eastern North America. This is why the Viburnum Prunifolium is used to growing in specific regions such as the states in Southeast, Northeast, and the Southwest of the United States.

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Blackhaw Viburnum. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Viburnum Prunifolium will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Blackhaw Viburnum is a relatively fast grower, which makes things tricky for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Blackhaw Viburnum? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Viburnum Prunifolium can grow up to 12′ – 15′ (3.6m – 4.5m) in 12′ – 15′ (3.6m – 4.5m) and 6′ – 12′ (180cm – 3.6m) in 6′ – 12′ (180cm – 3.6m). 

These dimensions make the Blackhaw Viburnum a relatively large shrub compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful rounded shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 72″ – 144″ (180cm – 360cm) free so the Blackhaw Viburnum can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Blackhaw Viburnum is a fairly complicated plant to take care of. This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat irregular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Viburnum Prunifolium needs water regularly and more often in hot weather until it’s established.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Blackhaw Viburnum in soil with moist but well-draining to well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, moist, and occasionally dry properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Blackhaw Viburnum then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in your plant’s soil and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Blackhaw Viburnum needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Blackhaw Viburnum prefers to have soil with good drainage, moist, and occasionally dry properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, loam, and clay.

This is why most experts agree that the Blackhaw Viburnum requires soil with clay, loam (silt), sand, and shallow rocky, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Placement

In terms of light & exposure, the Blackhaw Viburnum requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions

Most experts agree that this shrub will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Viburnum Prunifolium in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a deciduous plant, the Blackhaw Viburnum will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (mid, late), the summer (early, mid, late), the fall, and during the winter.


You can expect your Blackhaw Viburnum to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring). In particular, this shrub is well known for its showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Blackhaw Viburnum produces some beautiful white, cream/tan and yellow flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Blackhaw Viburnum have a beautiful bronze color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a opposite organization in its leaves. You can expect the leaves from your Viburnum Prunifolium to be around (3-6 inches) in size.

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Blackhaw Viburnum is well known for being able to attract butterflies and birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for clay soil, dry soil and drought conditions, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Viburnum Prunifolium will be fine.


How should you then organize your garden to include your new Blackhaw Viburnum? Here are some recommendations by expert gardeners.

Most Viburnum Prunifolium owners agree that this shrub will look great in most cottage and rustic gardens of all types. Other owners consider that they compliment well most gardens of informal and cottage, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Blackhaw Viburnum’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in hedges and screens, others use it for landscaping in a privacy screen, border, windbreak, dry shade, wildlife garden, or a woodland garden.


And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Blackhaw Viburnum to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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