Viburnum maple leaf viburnum acerifolium

Mapleleaf Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium)

Fall foliage

Voted the GNPS 2011 Plant of the Year, mapleleaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) is a shrub native to thickets and shaded woods from New Brunswick, Canada, west to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, south to Florida and west to Texas. It grows naturally in mesic, mixed woods on slopes, bluffs and ravines. It can be a loosely shaped shrub up to 6 feet tall that extends itself colonially, suckering to produce a colony of plants in the right conditions.

As the name suggests, the leaf of Viburnum acerifolium resembles that of a maple, particularly a red maple (Acer rubrum). The oppositely arranged leaves of the Viburnum is the same arrangement as the maple, making identification of this plant in the field just a bit more tricky when it is not in bloom. The leaves of Viburnum acerifolium are 2 to 5 inches long and wide, medium to dark green in color and often have 3 lobes. The edges are serrated and often have impressed veins.

Mapleleaf viburnum flowers in the spring. The blooms are on the ends of the twigs, off-white in 1 to 3 inch wide, flat-topped inflorescences composed of many small flowers (the flower structure is known as a cyme). Properly pollinated flowers turn into clusters of berries that turn from green to dark blue in the fall. The fruit is considered to be a drupe, a fleshy fruit with a single seed that has a stony seed coat or endocarp. The fruit is popular with birds and rarely persists through the winter. The mature fruit is also consumed by many species of mammals.

The low-growing and colonial habit of the mapleleaf viburnum provides both nesting and escape cover for birds and small mammals.

Viburnums are in the Caprifoliaceae or Honeysuckle family which includes many flowering shrubs.

Fall leaf color is spectacular on mapleleaf viburnum. The leaves can range from pale yellow to magenta on the same plant, but often the colors are shades of pink. Michael Dirr describes the colors as “shades of florescent pink and rose-red to grape-juice purple-red.” Leaf color starts as early as October and can last into November, depending on location. Once the leaves drop, leaf and bloom buds for next spring are quite visible on the bare twigs.

Mapleleaf viburnum is an excellent garden plant, particularly given its natural ability to thrive in part shade conditions and drier soils. This shrub would be well sited under a canopy of deciduous/mixed pine trees with perennials like native ferns and herbaceous flowering plants. It prefers acidic conditions. It also works well in a shrub border or as a foundation plant under tall windows. If pruning is required, it should be pruned after flowering since it flowers on old wood; pruning late in the year will result in fewer flowers the next spring.

Viburnum acerifolium is not often found in the nursery trade – the production of Viburnum trilobum (now Viburnum opulus L. var. americanum) seems more common – but it is a plant that is worthy of more attention both from nurseries and landscapers. It can be propagated from seed and cuttings. In the garden, branches that touch the ground can root; these rooted branches can then be separated from the parent and planted elsewhere or shared with friends.

In addition to supporting pollinator insects, mapleleaf viburnum is the larval host for the Spring Azure butterfly.

Prepared by Ellen Honeycutt, for the Georgia Native Plant Society.

  • Plant Type: Shrub

Viburnum acerifolium

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Viburnum – Mapleleaf

Mapleleaf Viburnum is a tough, adaptable plant which thrives in shady, dry sites. Creamy white flat-topped flowers in May are followed by purple fruit in late summer and fall. Foliage is green in summer, changing to subtle shades of pink, rose, red and purple in fall. Will become a broad colony eventually because of its suckering habit. Deciduous.

PRN Preferred: Exhibits so many great attributes: a broad site conditions range, attractive flowers & foliage, food for wildlife and deer resistance.


6 Feet


6 Feet

Bloom Color


USDA Hardiness Zone


Current Availability

Qty Avail Description Future Crop
90 Viburnum acerifolium #3 9-12″ (white) 400

Characteristics & Attributes


Deer Resistant
Fall Color – Attractive
Fruit – Ornamental
Full Shade
Soil Conditions

Bloom Time


Full Shade
Partial Shade/Shade Tolerant
Special Recognition

PRN Preferred Selection
Attracts Wildlife

Food Source for Wildlife

Black Walnut Tolerant
Dry Shade Tolerant
Foliage Color


Similar Plants to Viburnum acerifolium Viburnum trilobum ‘Bailey Compact’
American Cranberrybush Viburnum dentatum Chicago Lustre®
Arrowwood Viburnum

Maple Leaf Viburnum

Maple Leaf Viburnum – Viburnum Acerifolium For Sale Affordable Grower Direct Prices Tennessee Wholesale Nursery

Maple Leaf Viburnum, four to six foot tall, low-maintenance, deciduous shrub looks impressive with clusters of white flowers and thick green foliage in summer followed by purplish foliage and dark berries in fall. It will grow in dry, rocky soil or soil that is acidic, sandy, loam, or clay. Hardy in Zones 3-8, this ornamental beauty will grow in full sun to part shade.

Buy Fast Growing Maple Leaf Viburnum

It can even grow very wide, so make sure to give it plenty of room to spread when planting. This shrub is versatile and can build in a variety of soil conditions with ease. It will produce tiny blue fruits during the fall months of the year and is a beautiful addition to your garden. Also known as Southern Arrowwood for their use in the making of arrow shafts by Native Americans, they’re considered one of the most versatile deciduous shrubs to have. They’re The herbs present themselves in flat clusters, have a high fragrance, and may sometimes continue to be present at the beginning of June.
Additionally, easily transplanted. One of the primary uses is privacy by creating barriers and screening. They can also be used to develop landscape transitions, visual balance, and proportions when in mass.
Furthermore, being a durable plant alternative to difficult planting sites.

Low Priced Maple Leaf Viburnum For Every Landscape Design

During spring, Viburnum dentatum offers beautiful small white flowers, while keeping its foliage dense with a dark green color. The herbs present themselves in flat clusters, have a high fragrance, and may sometimes continue to be present at the beginning of June. Once fall arrives, the dense foliage begins changing colors from shades of yellow to red and red-purple. During autumn, the shrub provides berries varying in shades of blue to black. Providing ornamental interest, opportunity to propagate by seeds, while being eatable for birds. The berries as they begin to ripe, attract around ten different species of birds like Robins, Catbirds, Finches and more. Many are songbirds that manage insect populations.

Maple Leaf Viburnum Plant

The Maple Leaf Viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) Plant features leaves with three points on them similar to maple tree leaves, and that is how the lovely shrub got its name. These plants create great visual interest when used as hedging, in a mixed border, or a wildlife garden. The leaves produce vivid colors and not only for their bright green beauty during spring and summer.

When autumn arrives, the leaves of the Maple Leaf Viburnum Plant dazzle the eye with soft pastel shades of pink, rose, red, burgundy, and even deep purple. Property owners not only adore the shrub for its colorful display but also its low maintenance features and problem-free aspects.

In spring, clusters of white flowers appear, and pollinators like native bees and bumblebees are drawn to the plant. When the blooms fade, blue-black berries form where all kinds of birds flock for a nibble.

The Maple Leaf Viburnum Plant thrives in a shady spot with average soil and grows best in USDA hardiness zone 4-8. The plant shows moderate growth and can reach a height of three to five feet as a small shrub. It can also be planted as a medium shrub and attain a height between five and eight feet. The shrub can generally reach a width of three to four feet.

Maple Leaf Viburnum

Plant Database


  • native to eastern United States
  • hardy to zone 4

Habit and Form

  • a deciduous small shrub
  • multistemmed
  • 4′ to 6′ tall with an equal width
  • upright erect form
  • suckers
  • medium texture
  • moderate growth rate

Summer Foliage

  • opposite leaf arrangement
  • simple, deciduous leave
  • ovate leaf shape
  • 3-lobed leaves
  • 2″ to 4″ long
  • dentate leaf margins
  • somewhat pubescent
  • dark green leaf color

Autumn Foliage

  • reddish-purple fall color


  • yellowish-white flowers
  • 1″ to 3″ cyme
  • terminal
  • blooms in June


  • black fruit, drupe
  • egg-shaped
  • 0.33″ in diameter
  • ripens in September
  • persists


  • pubescent, brown stems


  • prefers well-drained, mildly acidic soil
  • full sun to shade
  • flowers on new wood
  • buy plants on their own rootstocks to avoid sucking

Landscape Use

  • shrub borders
  • naturalizing
  • mass plantings
  • for fruiting effect


  • bacterial leaf spot
  • nematodes
  • rootstocks tend to sucker

ID Features

  • small, black, egg-shaped drupe
  • deciduous leaves in an opposite arrangement
  • lobed leaves with dentate leaf margins


  • by cuttings
  • by seed
  • by grafting


  • none


Maple Leaf Viburnum Seedlings – Viburnum Acerifolium

When starting a landscaping project, maple leaf viburnum seedlings are almost always at least considered. This shrub is one of the staple landscape plants for most of the Eastern half of North America. They are native to and can be found growing naturally all the way from Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas. It is an excellent solution to hard to fill landscape spots and is also famous as a privacy shrub.

One of the reasons that this shrub is so widely used and much appreciated by landscapers is its ability to flourish in an extensive variety of conditions, including many that other plants do not tolerate. They will establish and develop well in a wide range of pH, soil types, and moisture. They can also be transplanted easily. They will grow well in the shade, but also flourish in full sun if given adequate water.

Mapleleaf viburnum grown 5-6 feet tall and about 4 feet wide and looks best if left to develop to its full potential, instead of being pruned.

This shrub offers beautiful spring blooms as well as striking fall colors. The blossoms, which typically last from May to June, are small and white. The clusters contrast with the shrub’s dark leaves and have a lovely smell. In the fall, as its name would imply, the maple leaf has foliage that turns a beautiful, dark, red-purple color. They also have berries that start to form in late summer. These berries are a bright red that darkens to black as they ripen. When ripe they attract many types of birds, including songbirds.

This shrub can be planted in the spring or fall and once established only needs watering in extreme drought. Given its versatility, ease of establishment, and the minimal amount of effort required to maintain it, the maple leaf is a beautiful plant for transforming your yard.

This woodland shrub is rather small (3-6′ at maturity) and rounded and grows best in full sun to partial shade. Attractive white blooms appear in June.

Mapleleaf Viburnum Information – Tips On Growing Mapleleaf Viburnums

Mapleleaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) is a common plant of Eastern North America, on hillsides, forests and ravines. It is a prolific plant that produces a favorite food for many wild animals. Its cultivated cousins are often used as multi-season ornamentals and offer a host of beautiful changes over the year. Mapleleaf viburnum shrubs are hardy additions to the landscape and work perfectly in planned native gardens. Read further to learn how to care for a Mapleleaf viburnum and what surprises you can expect from this plant.

Mapleleaf Viburnum Information

Few plants offer both the statuesque beauty and constant seasonal interest as the Mapleleaf viburnum. These plants are easy to establish through seed or their abundant rhizomous suckers. In fact, over time mature plants form thickets of colonized young volunteers.

Added to this is their drought tolerance, ease of care and abundant wildlife food, which makes growing Mapleleaf viburnums winning plants for the garden, with durable hardiness in most USDA zones. Mapleleaf viburnum care is almost non-existent once plants establish and provide useful color and wildlife food and cover.

As the name would imply, the leaves resemble small maple tree leaves, 2 to 5 inches long. Leaves are 3-lobed, dully green and with small black spots on the undersides. The green color makes way to a lovely reddish-purple in autumn, with the rest of the plant adorned by showy pea-sized bluish-black fruits. During the growing season, the plant produces cymes of tiny white flowers up to 3 inches across.

Mapleleaf viburnum shrubs can grow up to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide but are generally smaller in the wild. The fruits are attractive to song birds but will also draw wild turkeys and ring-necked pheasants. Deer, skunks, rabbitsand moosealso seem to like to nibble on the bark and foliage of the plants.

How to Care for a Mapleleaf Viburnum

Plants prefer moist loam but can perform quite well in more arid soil conditions. When planted in dry soil, it does best in partial to full shade. As suckers develop, the plant produces a delightful stepped form, with layers of the airy flowers and shiny fruits in their seasons.

Choose a site for growing Mapleleaf viburnums that is partially shaded and use the plants as understory greenery. They are also suitable for container use, as well as borders, foundations and hedges. In their natural range, they are quite attracted to lakes, streams and rivers.

Use Mapleleaf viburnum alongside other dry shade plants such as Epimedium, Mahonia, and Oakleaf hydrangeas. The effect will be elegant and yet wild, with many different sights to capture the eyes from spring to early winter.

In the early stages of the plant’s growth, it is important to provide supplemental irrigation until the roots have established. If you do not wish a thicket of plants, thin out the suckers annually to keep the main plant in focus. Pruning doesn’t enhance the form of the plant but it is relatively tolerant to cutting if you wish to keep it in a smaller form. Prune in late winter to early spring.

When establishing a large space with this viburnum, plant each specimen 3 to 4 feet apart. The effect en masse is quite appealing. Mapleleaf viburnum has few pest or disease issues and rarely needs supplemental fertilizing. A simple organic mulch applied annually to the root zone provides all the nutrients you need for good Mapleleaf viburnum care.

Viburnums are certainly one of the staple shrubs of many home landscapes and rightfully so. Their excellent flowers and bright fruits make them indispensable in the plant palette. Often overlooked, however, are the beautiful native viburnums. The mapleleaf viburnum is one such plant. Excellent foliage, nice flowers and striking fruit make this plant a winner for a shady spot in the garden.

Mapleleaf viburnum, as its name implies, has leaves that are reminiscent of a red maple. The foliage stays mostly clean and blemish free throughout the growing season, and the bold texture and mild green color make an excellent backdrop for other flowers and fine-textured plants such as fern and columbine. In the fall, pale pink to dark burgundy tints bring the plant alive. There are not many selections of mapleleaf viburnum, so fall color can vary from plant to plant. Creamy white flower clusters 2 to 3 inches wide appear in late spring to early summer, making a welcome addition to the shady garden. Fruit begins to form by late summer. The one-quarter to one-third of an inch fruit starts bright red before turning black. Birds love to feed on the ripe fruits and will often strip it bare within a few weeks of ripening.

Looking at this viburnum’s natural range gives a clue about its adaptability. It grows naturally from Canada down to Georgia. It is a valuable addition to the informal woodland garden since it grows well in deep shade and dry sites. Once established, mapleleaf viburnum will tolerate fairly severe drought although this may cause it to abort its fruit. It will grow in full sun if given adequate water, but the foliage becomes paler and more susceptible to some scorching than if given some protection from the afternoon sun. A partially shaded site with moist, well-drained soil is ideal. Propagation is easy with cuttings taken in early to midsummer, or seed sown fresh.

Viburnum acerifolium works best in naturalistic or informal plantings such as woodland edges and bird habitat gardens. It grows to about 5 to 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide, but will occasionally sucker to form wider colonies. It should be planted in a space where it is allowed to develop to its full size since pruning rarely improves its form. Other dry-shade-tolerant plants such as fairy wings (Epimedium spp.) and Mrs. Robb’s spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides robbiae) form nice carpets around its ankles, while grape hollies (Mahonia spp.) and oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia) make bold companion shrubs.

With its ease of culture, multiple seasons of beauty and songbird attraction, mapleleaf viburnum is a no-fuss addition to the garden. Perhaps the most dreaded of garden conditions, dry shade, can be turned into a focal point instead of a bedraggled eyesore with its clean foliage, excellent fall color and showy fruits.

Common Name: Mapleleaf viburnum

Botanical Name: Viburnum acerifolium

Color: White flowers, pink to orange burgundy fall color, red fruits turning to black

Blooming Period: May through June

Type: Deciduous, flowering shrub

Size: 4 to 6 feet tall by 4 feet wide

Exposure: Full to partial shade

When to Plant: Spring or fall

How to Plant: Keep the soil at the same level as it was in the pot, planting 3 to 4 feet apart.

Soil: Adaptable to most soils.

Watering: Water deeply at least once per week until established, then only during extreme droughts.

When to Prune: Late winter or early spring. Only prune uneven, crossing or dead branches.

In Your Landscape: Use in difficult spots such as under large trees or on shady hillsides. Use in plantings with asters, beautyberries and other bird-food sources to attract wildlife.

Posted March 2011 Mark Weathington is Assistant Director and Curator of Collections, JC Raulston Arboretum.

Viburnum Species, Maple-Leaved Arrowwood, Mapleleaf Viburnum, Dockmackie



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Partial to Full Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:



4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown – Tell us



Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown – Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown – Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; stratify if sowing indoors

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Auburn, Alabama

Cullman, Alabama

Downers Grove, Illinois

Clermont, Kentucky

Georgetown, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Annapolis, Maryland

Gaithersburg, Maryland

Valley Lee, Maryland

Canton, Massachusetts

Foxboro, Massachusetts

Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Newport, New Hampshire

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Croton On Hudson, New York

Oyster Bay, New York

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Berwyn, Pennsylvania

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Chepachet, Rhode Island

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