Walter’s Viburnum



Botanical Name:   Viburnum obovatum

Common Name:  Walter’s Viburnum, Small-Leaf Arrowwood

Description:  This is yet another of our gorgeous Florida native viburnums that should be used more in our gardens.

Walter’s viburnum is a woody shrub to small tree that occurs naturally in flatwoods, hydric hammocks, riverine forests, floodplain swamps and bottomland forests. Pollinators are attracted to its showy late winter/early spring flower clusters, while birds and other wildlife feast on its abundant summer and fall fruit production and use its dense foliage for nesting and cover. It is normally evergreen, but may drop its leaves for a short time in zone 8 or during colder winters. It is deer resistant.

Walter’s viburnum has fragrant, dainty white flowers born in flat-topped clusters. Its leaves are small (about 1 inch in length), ovate to spatulate, and oppositely arranged. They are dark green and leathery and may have either entire or slightly toothed margins. The fruit is a flat red drupe that turns black when mature.

This is a taller viburnum, so it works great as a hedge or barrier. Quickly grows to 10-15′ tall and wide. It looks beautiful if left to grow into its natural rounded shape, but it can be sheared if a more formal look is wanted. Is hurricane wind resistant.

Grows naturally in moist to wet, fertile, acidic, sandy, clay or calcareous soils, but also grows just fine in regular garden environments. Is drought tolerant once established but looks best with supplemental watering during very dry times. Is quite versatile in that it can grow in sun, part sun, or part shade  areas of your garden.

Larval host for the spring azure butterfly (Celastrina ladon).

Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray.

This plant in 3-gallon containers is 2-3′ tall.

This plant in 7-gallon containers is 4-5′ tall.

Plant Lore:  This species was previously placed in the Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle) family. The name Walter’s viburnum honors Thomas Walter (1740-89), English-born planter of South Carolina, who described this species in his Flora Caroliniana.

Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 10a


Additional information

Container Size

3-gallon, 7-gallon


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