The Q&A Archives: Why won't my viburnum turn red?

Question: We bought a Monrovia Viburnum four years ago this fall, from International Garden Center nearby our Culver City 90230 home. The viburnum was red when we bought it, but has never gotten red again. Can we do something to the soil to help it turn color? Otherwise, the plant has thrived, growing very large, giving off pretty white berries but remaining green. This year, there are a few red leaves, but nothing like the first year when we planted it. Thanks!


Answer: The only viburnum with a soil pH preference is V. davidii. The rest adapt to most soils. Your plant may be reluctant to show its true colors because it isn't getting the full summer sunshine it craves, or because the differences between the fall daytime and nighttime temperatures simply isn't enough to trigger the color change. The fact that it once showed its color and it is producing a few red leaves this year convinces me that the environment is responsible for the lack of color. There isn't much you can do about the weather, so I hope you'll enjoy your viburnum anyway!

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