The Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum (Viburnum Obovatum ‘Densa’) Care Guide

The Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum, otherwise known as the Viburnum Obovatum ‘Densa’ or Periwinkle ‘Bowles’s Variety’, Lesser Periwinkle ‘Bowles’s Variety’, Dwarf Periwinkle ‘Bowles’s Variety’, Creeping Myrtle ‘Bowles’s Variety’, Vinca minor ‘Bowles’s Blue’, Vinca minor ‘La Grave’, is a rather well known perennial plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this perennial will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its dark green 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 Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum Care Guide. So let’s dive in.

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.
  • Light: Keep your Viburnum Obovatum ‘Densa’ in an environment where it can receive partial to full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Dwarf Walter's Viburnum

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum belongs to the Apocynaceae family, the genus Vinca and the species Minor, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Viburnum Obovatum ‘Densa’ (vy-BER-num ob-oh-VAY-tum).

As with other Vinca’s, the Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum is a semi-evergreen plant, which means it will shed its leaves but only for a short period of time.

Growing Region

The Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum is a plant native to the Europe to Caucasus.

You might be wondering why your Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum’s native region is important. Well, if you know where your plant originally came from, you’ll know which environment conditions it prefers, and with it, knowledge on how to replicate it at home.

With this in mind, the Viburnum Obovatum ‘Densa’ will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


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

The Viburnum Obovatum ‘Densa’ can grow up to 4″ – 6″ (10cm – 15cm) in 4″ – 6″ (10cm – 15cm) and 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm) in 1′ – 2′ (30cm – 60cm). 

These dimensions make the Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum a relatively small perennial 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 compact shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 8″ (20cm) free so the Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Dwarf Walter’s 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 Obovatum ‘Densa’ needs evenly spread moist soil – try to avoid letting the soil dry out.

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

Dwarf Walter's Viburnum care


As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Dwarf Walter’s 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 Dwarf Walter’s 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 Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Dwarf Walter’s 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 clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum requires soil with clay, high organic matter, 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 Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum requires partial to full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

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

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Viburnum Obovatum ‘Densa’ in from little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy), to full and direct sun (more than 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).


Being a semi-evergreen plant, the Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum will shed its leaves but only for a short period of time.

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


You can expect your Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum to flower around the spring and in the summer months from April to June (spring), and from July to September (summer).

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

The Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum produces some beautiful white, or purple/lavender, blue and white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum have a beautiful dark 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 Obovatum ‘Densa’ to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

Dwarf Walter's Viburnum plants

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum is well known for being able to attract butterflies, 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 drought, rocky soil, dry soil and animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Viburnum Obovatum ‘Densa’ will be fine.


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

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

In particular, the Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum’s best location within your garden is in ground covers, banks and slopes, and in underplanting roses and shrubs, others use it for landscaping in a hedge,


Even though we covered a lot of care information for your Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum, remember the basics: sunlight, soil and water, as these should be enough to grow a healthy plant at home.

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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