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Extension > Garden > Yard and Garden > Trees and Shrubs > American Cranberrybush

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American Cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum)

Kathy Zuzek and Karyn Vidmar

Plant description

Mature height: 6 to 12'
Mature width: 6 to 12'
Growth rate: Medium
Plant form: Dense, rounded
Deciduous or evergreen: Deciduous
Native range: New Brunswick to British Columbia, south to New York, South Dakota and Oregon
Native to Minnesota: Yes
Invasive in Minnesota: No

Native range in North America and Minnesota. From USDA
NRCS Plants Database, MN DNR
. (Click to enlarge)


Light: Sun to part shade
Soil texture: prefers loam soils, also found in peat soils
Soil moisture: poorly-drained to well-drained and moist to wet soils; longest-lived on moist well-drained soils
Soil pH: Prefers a pH of 6.6-7.5; tolerates higher soil pH
Hardiness zone: 2 to 7
Pests and stresses: None serious. Visit What's wrong with my shrub? – Viburnum for a list of the most common viburnum pests in Minnesota.
Other: Tolerates soil salts; fibrous root system provides easy transplanting

American Cranberrybush in the landscape

American cranberrybush is a durable and easy-to-grow plant throughout most of Minnesota because of its hardiness and its ability to grow across a range of soil pH and moisture conditions. Its dense plant form makes this species well-suited for use in barriers, borders, hedges, or for screening. Other uses in the landscape include foundation plantings, massing, naturalizing, and as a specimen plant in autumn landscapes. The fruit is attractive to birds and other wildlife.

American cranberrybush provides two seasons of interest: spring and fall. In spring, the medium to dark green maple-like dense foliage provides a backdrop to the 2-4" flat-topped clusters of flowers that bloom from May through early June. The showy lacecap flower heads have a center core of small inconspicuous fertile flowers that are surrounded by an outer ring of showy sterile flowers. Autumn is the main season of interest for this species because of the colorful combination of pendant style berries and fall foliage in tones of yellow, red, and purple. The fruit turn red or orange and are showy from August through October. The fruit of American cranberrybush are tart but edible and are used for making preserves.

Cultivars have been selected for spring foliage color, healthy glossy summer foliage, brilliant fall color, fruit density or color, and compact plant habit.

Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

Rounded, dense mature form; white spring flowers

close up of leaves with jagged edges

Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

Green summer foliage of 'Wentworth'

tiny white flowers surrounded by circle of larger white flowers

Kathy Zuzek, UMN Extension

White spring flowers

close up of leaves with green centers and red edges

Julie Weisenhorn, UMN Extension

Vivid fall color

close up of bright red berries

Julie Weisenhorn, UMN Extension

Ornamental & edible fruits in fall

Some cultivars grown in Minnesota:

  Cultivar selected for:
Cultivar Spring showy flowers Glossy healthy summer foliage Fall color Showy fruit Compact plant habit
Alfredo Compact®   X X X X
Baily Compact®   X X X X
Compactum X     X X
Redwing®   X X X  
Wentworth® X X X X  
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