Walter is in bloom!

clusters of white flowers
Winter Blooms Are A Nice Treat From Walter’s Viburnum

Living in Southwest Florida we often have plants blooming all the time – even during the winter!  Well before the official start of Spring, some plants like our native Walter’s Viburnum are in flower.  Walter’s Viburnum is one of those native plants that have successfully crossed over from natural areas to our local landscapes.  Not only is it seen frequently as a hedging material, but also is known for its attractive late winter flowers.

There are several native plants that have been so favored that they have made it into the commercial landscape market.  They tend to be plants that are easily propagated, have function, and are usefully ornamental.  While native plants are trending these days, they also have to be very resilient in our landscapes and able to adapt to our mostly residential fill soils which are no longer native.  Walter’s Viburnum has made the grade and is commonly used in local plantings including at our Centennial Park facility in Port Charlotte.  New selections of improved Walter’s Viburnum or Viburnum obovatum have helped bridge the gap of people’s taste and acceptable ornamental appeal.  In addition to the white flowers, the small leaves and thick foliage make them ideal for hedges or screens.  Rarely making it up to twenty-feet tall, Walter’s Viburnum is easily pruned to the size you want.  Also, by using newer cultivars that are naturally dwarf, you have a winning combination of naturally slower, shorter growth that does not require much in the way of regular pruning.  Look for compact cultivars such as ‘Densa’, ‘Mrs. Schiller’s Delight’, or ‘Whorled Class’ for manageable sizes somewhere in the two to five feet high and three-to five-foot-wide range. The small leaves take well to formal hedging remembering to keep the top narrow and the base wide so that sun gets to all parts equally.

The flowers in bloom now start out as pink buds which open into five-petaled white, unscented flowers in clusters favored by pollinators.  Blooms will last two to three weeks in our region of the state.  These flowers are followed by red berries that turn black by late summer and are relished by wildlife.  Walter’s Viburnum is very drought tolerant once established as well not minding temporarily wet soils.  In fact, Walter’s Viburnum can be used as part of a rain garden developed to tolerate both seasonally wet and dry seasons.

Walter’s Viburnum – dwarf or not – is a good selection for any landscape and is Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ approved!  Check for planting stock at family-run or specialized native nurseries in our area.   For more information on all types of flowering shrubs, or to ask a question, you can also call the Master Gardener Volunteer Helpdesk on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer. Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for UF/IFAS Extension Charlotte County. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or Connect with us on social media. Like us on Facebook @CharlotteCountyExtension and follow us on Instagram @ifascharco.

Leonard, D. J. (2022) Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum:  A Great Native Shrub for Deep South Landscapes.  The University of Florida Extension Service – Calhoun County.
Lamborn. A. R.(2013) Walter’s Viburnum ‘Whorled Class’.  The University of Florida Extension Service – Baker County.
The Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Guide to Plant Selection & Landscape Design (2022) The University of Florida Extension Services.
Viburnum obovatum ‘Mrs. Schiller’s Delight’ (2024) North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox.  NC State Extension.
Rain Garden Brochure – Rain Gardens – Healthy for Nature and People – Volusia County, UF/IFAS Extension.
Gilman, E. F. (2014) Viburnum obovatum (Walter’s Viburnum).  Trees and Powerlines.  The University of Florida Extension Service.
(2017) Fact sheet: Dwarf Walter’s Viburnum.  The University of Florida Extension Service – Nassau County.
UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions (2022) Walter’s Viburnum and Other Viburnum Species.  The University of Florida Extension Service.
Plant of the Week: Viburnum obovatum “Mrs. Schillar’s Delight;” Walter’s Viburnum, Small Viburnum.  The University of Arkansas Extension Service.
Bailey, C.C. (2021) Walter’s Viburnum for the Landscape and Native Gardens.  Yard Doc –


ralph mitchell
Posted: March 19, 2024

Category: Home Landscapes
Tags: Late Winter Flowers, Walter’s Viburnum

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