The Q&A Archives: Viburnum Bodnantense Not Growing

Question: I have planted a Viburnum bodnantense in the middle of my front lawn. The shrub is about 3 years old. It does flower and grow leaves, but does not seem to grow up or outwards. It is in full sun from early morning to 6pm. Considering our northeast England's climate, and given the numerous descriptions of its hardiness and growth rate, I expected it to be bigger now that when planted, but it's not. I'm not aware of any disease problems, but have not investigated root and soil possibilities. What does this variety not like? What may be stunting its growth?

Answer: Viburnums tolerate most soil conditions, including alkaline, acid, and heavy clay soils. They take full sun, but appreciate some protection where summers are extremely hot. This wouldn't seem to apply to your location. They are susceptible to aphids, thrips, spider mites, or scale, all of which could influence its ability to thrive. Have you examined it carefully for any sign of infestation? They also need regular watering. Is it receiving water through the entire root zone area, both to a depth of about two feet and as wide out as the dripline? Finally, is it possible that the roots were rootbound before planting? In that case, they might continue growing in a spiral, wrapping around themselves, not spreading out into the surrounding soil.

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