How Much Water Does Viburnum Need? (Viburnum Water Needs)

Viburnum produces beautiful flowers, and it is cold hardy as well. That still leaves the question of whether this shrub can tolerate drought.

So, how much water does viburnum need? Viburnum needs more water in its first year after planting. Once established, it needs less water, but it depends on the variety. Some (like Viburnum dentatum) tolerate wet soil, and others (like Viburnum lantana) can survive drought. Place viburnum in partial shade to reduce the need for water.

Too much water can cause root rot for any plant, including viburnum. On the other hand, a lack of water may stunt growth and prevent full flowering.

In this article, we’ll talk about how much water viburnum needs to survive.We’ll also tell you how to avoid over watering this flowering shrub.

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How Much Water Does Viburnum Need? (Viburnum Water Requirements)

Most types of viburnum grow well in moist soil with good drainage. Still, viburnum water requirements can differ a lot, depending on the variety.

viburnum opulus
Most types of viburnum grow well in moist soil with good drainage.

In all cases, viburnum will need less water when placed in partial shade – but its flowers won’t be as dazzling as they could be. (Remember that viburnum doesn’t do so well in full shade).

There are some viburnums that tolerate places with wet soil, such as:

  • Viburnum dentatum (Arrowwood Viburnum)
  • Viburnum opulus (European Cranberrybush)
  • Viburnum trilobum (American Cranberrybush)

On the other end of the spectrum, there are also viburnums that can tolerate drought conditions.

Is Viburnum Drought Tolerant?

Some types of viburnum are drought tolerant, but not all of them.

viburnum dilatatum
Some types of viburnum are drought tolerant, which is a good choice for a water-wise landscape.

Here are some viburnum varieties that can tolerate drought:

  • Viburnum bracteatum (Bracted Viburnum)
  • Viburnum dilatatum (Linden Viburnum)
  • Viburnum lantana (Wayfaringtree Viburnum)
  • Viburnum odoratissimum (Sweet Viburnum)
  • Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw Viburnum)

You can find a more extensive list of drought tolerant viburnums here.

Does Viburnum Need A Lot Of Water?

An established viburnum doesn’t need as much water as a new transplant. After the first year, your viburnum will need less water.

An established viburnum needs less water than a new transplant.

If you choose a drought tolerant viburnum and water properly during the first year, you may be able to avoid watering except during extended dry conditions.

Take the time to soak the soil if there is a severe drought (especially if your chosen viburnum variety is not drought tolerant – see the list linked above). Don’t keep the soil constantly soggy, though – soil that stays too wet for too long leads to root rot.

If you live in an area with high wind, fast-draining soil, and hot dry weather, you will need to water more often.

You can also add a layer of mulch on top of the soil to help retain moisture.

wood chip mulch
Put mulch over the soil to retain moisture.

Can You Over Water Viburnum?

It is possible to over water viburnum, which leads to diseases like root rot. Viburnum prefers well-draining soil, and some can tolerate drought.

Over watering viburnum is more likely in these situations:

  • Poorly draining soil – clay soil is heavy and dense, and its tiny particles hold water for a long time. Clay soil is more likely to stay wet for a long time and cause problems for viburnums that don’t like wet soil.
  • Mulched soil – a layer of mulch on top of soil helps to retain water. Normally, this is great for plants that need lots of water. However, any type of viburnum that is drought tolerant doesn’t need much water, so mulch can keep the soil too wet and lead to root rot and other problems.
  • Automated sprinkler – if you use an automated sprinkler, your viburnum can get too much water. It isn’t a good idea to plant drought-tolerant viburnum varieties near water-hungry plants. Instead, create two separate areas in your garden (one dedicated to “dry” plants, and another dedicated to “wet” plants).
Avoid over watering viburnum to avoid root rot.

In summary: for drought tolerant viburnum varieties, too much water is worse than a lack of water.

If you already over watered your viburnum and you don’t think it can be salvaged, there is still something you can do. Even with rotten rots, you can take cuttings to propagate the plant and grow a new shrub.

Just check that the viburnum variety is not protected by a patent (usually, a label that comes with the plant when you buy it will tell you this – it will often say “Propagation prohibited” or something like that).

How Often To Water Viburnum

Watering frequency for viburnum depends on the type you choose. Drought tolerant viburnum varieties need water less often.

Watering frequency also depends on the weather and season:

  • A hot, dry summer with high wind speed with little rainfall: water more often (once per week, and possibly more often).
  • Cool, wet conditions in spring or fall: water less often (once every 1 to 2 weeks).
  • Winter: water on occasion.
viburnum opulus 2
Water viburnum more often in hot, dry conditions during summer, especially if there is strong wind.

If you are not sure, just feel the soil near the base of the plant with your hands and dig in a bit:

  • Soil that is dusty or dry on top, and also dry as you dig a little deeper: go ahead and water.
  • Dry soil on top with slightly damp soil deeper down: wait a little while to water (keep an eye on the plant). Viburnums that tolerate wet soil might be ok to water at this point.
  • Moist topsoil: wait a while to water.


Now you know just how much moisture viburnum needs (water less often once established!) and how to find drought tolerant varieties.

You can learn about viburnum cold tolerance here.

Viburnum has lots of different flower colors, depending on the variety – you can learn more here.

Got trouble with something eating your viburnums? It could be beetles, or something else … learn more here.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

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Jon M

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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