Plant of the Week: Viburnum ‘Blue Muffin’

Viburnum ‘Blue Muffin’ is this week’s Plant of the Week. Viburnums come and go, but ‘Blue Muffin’ is a standout cultivar. Viburnum dentatum, the arrowwood viburnum, is native to North America.

This shrub grows 6 to 8 feet tall and wide. It can be used in a variety of ways in the landscape. It can be planted for pollinators or birds, or used as a hedge or screening.

The blue-black fruits are edible to humans, and taste a bit like blueberries. I have several of these shrubs in my landscape, mainly for attracting birds. The berries hold to the stems into winter, making them attractive to birds when other food is scarce. The fall foliage is an attractive red to burgundy.

Hover fly on viburnum

The white flowers are produced on tall stems in May, but will often last into June. They are visited by butterflies, bees, and flies (hover and tachinid).

Viburnum 'Blue Muffin' berries

Arrowwood viburnums can be pruned regularly to maintain a hedge or screen. I like to prune them once in June, and then again in September, here in Northeast Kansas. They will often grow 6 to 10 inches per year.

I love Viburnum ‘Blue Muffin’ for its compact size and its ability to grow well in either sun or part shade. Its white, flat-topped flower corymbs develop into blue berries that last well into fall and winter – Paul Kiekhaefer, Landscape Designer at Grimm’s Gardens

A garden without a viburnum is akin to life without music and art.” — Michael Dirr, Plantsman, author, teacher

You can find viburnums at our locations near Hiawatha or Nebraska City, or check out our online store.

3 thoughts on “Plant of the Week: Viburnum ‘Blue Muffin’

  1. I planted 4 blue muffins 5 or 6 yrs ago in my zone 6b yard. They’re now approx 7 ft tall, and 8 – 10 ft apart. They receive 6+ hrs of sun. They have bloomed nicely each of the past several years, but they have yet to set berries. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Janet,

      Thanks for reading and your inquiry. One of the things about ‘Blue Muffin’ is that it is a cloned plant, meaning that all ‘Blue Muffins’ are genetically identical to each other. And while they all have both male and female flowers on the same plant. But the genetic makeup is the same, and they rarely pollinate themselves to set fruit. I am just learning most of this myself, so thank you for the question. I have both Blue Muffin and Red Feather in my garden, and they cross pollinate each other. You would think having 2 Viburnum dentatum would be enough, but they need to be different cultivars to cross pollinate. We have the same issue with may fruit trees. They need a different cultivar to cross pollinate and set fruit. You do not need to but a whole row of them to cross pollinate, 1 will do. Red Feather, Autumn Jazz, Chicago Lustre, or Blue Blaze are all cultivars which can cross-pollinate Blue Muffin.

      Best regards,

      The Kansas Gardener

      Another possibility may be

  2. I have a hedge row of blue muffin and two little Joes in my yard as pollinators. My blue muffins are loaded with berries every year.

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