Discover one of the viburnum world’s unsung heroes — Chindo viburnum. Known botanicaly as Viburnum awabuki ‘Chindo,’ Chindo viburnum brings a striking beauty to the landscape. One common name is mirror leaf viburnum, a nod to the plant’s highly glossy leaves. Versatile and beautiful, Viburnum awabuki works well as a hedge, specimen shrub or small single-trunked tree.
‘Chindo’ viburnum is a variety of Viburnum awabuki created in Raleigh at the JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State. That location gives a hint to the hardiness of ‘Chindo’ viburnum, which is winter hardy in Zones 7 to 9. Nurseries typically advise gardeners in Zone 7 to mulch plants well for winter, because a hard winter can kill them to the ground. Protecting the crown with mulch ensures new growth can resume from the roots after a harsh winter.
Awabuki viburnum earns a loyal following for its high gloss leaves, which look good on any day in any season. It’s actually the top reason this viburnum shrub is planted. Viburnum awabuki grows 15 to 20 feet high and 10 to 15 feet wide, while Viburnum awabuki ‘Chindo’ grows a little smaller, 10 to 12 feet high and 8 to 9 feet wide.
Both of these awabuki viburnums respond well to pruning. In warmest zones, tackle pruning Viburnum awabuki and ‘Chindo’ viburnum in late winter. This timing helps plants to grow uniformly throughout summer. Follow up with a midsummer pruning, if necessary, to curtail this fast growing viburnum. Left unpruned, ‘Chindo’ viburnum and Viburnum awabuki grow to form a large shrub. You can also remove lower branches and prune the plants to form a multi-trunk tree.
Viburnum awabuki and ‘Chindo’ viburnum open white flower clusters in spring. The blossoms have a light fragrance and beckon bees, butterflies and other buzzing insects. If fertilized, the blooms form berries that color shift from red to glossy black when fully ripe.
In the botanical world, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding Viburnum awabuki. Sometimes it’s listed as belonging to Viburnum odoratissimum as Viburnum odoratissimum ‘Awabuki,’ but viburnum experts think it stands alone as Viburnum awabuki. It has some resemblance to Viburnum odoratissimum, but the stunning high gloss leaves on Viburnum awabuki set it apart.