The Complete Guide for Korean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum Carlesii) Care

The Korean Spice Viburnum, otherwise known as the Viburnum Carlesii or Koreanspice Viburnum, Korean Spice Viburnum, Arrowwood, is a rather well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

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

Viburnum carlesii plants

Fortunately, taking care of your Korean Spice Viburnum is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Korean Spice Viburnum Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Korean Spice Viburnum can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Korean Spice Viburnum grows best with regular watering to keep the soil moist during the dry season. Reduce watering once the plant is established.
  • Light: Keep your Viburnum Carlesii in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Korean Spice Viburnum in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

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

Description and Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Korean Spice Viburnum belongs to the Viburnaceae family, the genus Viburnum and the species Carlesii, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Viburnum Carlesii (vy-BER-num kar-LEE-see-eye). This shrub is known for its spreading, rounded form and attractive features like aromatic, deeply veined leaves and clusters of small, white flowers in the springtime.

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

NameKorean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum Carlesii)
WateringOnce or twice per week
LightPartial to full sun
TemperatureCan tolerate as low as -20°F (28°C)
PruningAfter it has flowered

Growing Region

The Korean Spice ViburnumKorea and Japan.

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Korean Spice 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 Carlesii will be most used to the heat zones in the 4 – 8 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a and the ideal climate zone is between 2B, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, A3.

Growth and Size

In terms of size and growth, the Korean Spice Viburnum is a relatively slow grower, which makes things easy for any plant enthusiast.

But, what size of Korean Spice Viburnum are we talking about? What can you expect in terms of height, spread and spacing? Let’s dig in…

How big does a Korean spice viburnum get?

The Viburnum Carlesii can grow up to 4′ – 8′ (120cm – 240cm) tall and 4′ – 8′ (120cm – 240cm) wide. It typically grows 1 to 2 feet per year and can reach a mature size of 6-8 feet tall.

These dimensions make the Korean Spice 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.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 48″ – 72″ (120cm – 180cm) free so the Korean Spice Viburnum can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Korean Spice Viburnum is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Viburnum Carlesii grows best with regular watering to keep the soil moist during the dry season. Reduce watering once the plant is established.

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

Viburnum carlesii buds


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Korean Spice 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 properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Korean Spice Viburnum since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

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

This is why most experts agree that the Korean Spice Viburnum requires soil with clay, loam (silt), and sand, 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 Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Korean Spice 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 Carlesii 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 Korean Spice 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), and during the fall.


In particular, this shrub is well known for its fragrant and showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Korean Spice Viburnum produces some beautiful white, or pink and white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Korean Spice Viburnum have a beautiful green 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 Carlesii to be around (3-6 inches) in size. The Korean Spice Viburnum is well known for being able to attract birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Viburnum carlesii care


Does your Korean Spice Viburnum have any garden recommendations? Does it serve any gardening purposes? Here’s how you can get the most out of your new plant.

Most Viburnum Carlesii owners agree that this shrub will look great in most cottage and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of informal and cottage, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Korean Spice Viburnum’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in hedges and screens, others use it for landscaping in a specimen, border, firescaping/fire wise, or a wildlife garden.

Companion Plants

Korean Spice Viburnum’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Thuja, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Rhododendron will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Korean Spice Viburnum in your garden or home.

Related Questions

What does Korean Spice Viburnum smell like?

It smells sweet and pervasive, with clove-like notes. Some people liken the smell to that of black pepper, while others say it smells more like wintergreen. The flavor is also reminiscent of clove, wintergreen, and black pepper.

When to trim or prune a Korean Spice Viburnum?

The best time to trim or prune a Korean spice viburnum is immediately after it has flowered. However, you can also trim it in late summer or early fall if you prefer. Just be sure to use sharp pruning shears and cut back any dead or diseased branches first.

When does Korean Spice Viburnum bloom?

Korean Spice Viburnum blooms in mid-spring, around March or April. The flowers are about 1 inch across and have a spicy fragrance.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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