European Cranberrybush (Viburnum Opulus ‘Roseum’)

Plant: Table of Contents

European Cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’): A Complete Guide


European cranberrybush, scientifically known as Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’, is a delightful deciduous shrub native to Europe and North Africa. It belongs to the Adoxaceae family and is well-loved for its ornamental value, wildlife attraction, and medicinal properties. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the culture, uses, maintenance, and fascinating characteristics of European cranberrybush.

Key Takeaways

European Cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’)

  • Botanical Name: Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’
  • Common Name: European Cranberrybush
  • Family: Adoxaceae
  • Plant Type: Deciduous Shrub
  • Native Habitat: Europe and North Africa



European cranberrybush has a multitude of uses, ranging from ornamental and aesthetic to culinary and medicinal purposes. Here are some of the key uses of this versatile plant:

  • Ornamental Value: The European cranberrybush is widely grown for its attractive, showy flowers and vibrant autumn foliage. It serves as a stunning focal point in gardens and landscapes, adding visual interest and beauty.

  • Wildlife Attraction: The plant’s flowers and fruits are highly attractive to pollinators, such as bees and butterflies. Additionally, the berries serve as a food source for birds, enhancing biodiversity in the garden.

  • Medicinal Properties: Various parts of the plant, including the bark and berries, have been traditionally used in herbal medicine for their potential health benefits. The berries are rich in vitamin C and have been utilized to make traditional remedies.

  • Culinary Uses: While the berries of Viburnum opulus are not recommended for direct consumption due to their bitterness, they have been utilized in the preparation of jams, jellies, and sauces, particularly in European culinary traditions.


European cranberrybush thrives best in well-drained soil with moderate moisture levels. It is essential to provide regular watering during the plant’s initial establishment period and in drought conditions. However, the plant should not be subjected to waterlogged or excessively wet conditions as it may lead to root rot and other detrimental effects.


When it comes to sunlight requirements, European cranberrybush performs optimally in partial to full sun. Providing the plant with adequate sunlight is crucial for promoting healthy growth, robust flowering, and the development of vibrant foliage. In regions with intense summer heat, some afternoon shade may be beneficial to prevent excessive stress on the plant.


Applying a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in the early spring can significantly benefit the growth and overall health of European cranberrybush. Choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for shrubs and trees, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application rates. Avoid excessive fertilization, as this can lead to excessive vegetative growth at the expense of flowering and fruiting.


European cranberrybush demonstrates excellent adaptability to various soil types, ranging from loamy and well-drained to clayey and slightly acidic soils. However, it thrives in fertile, humus-rich soil with good drainage. Before planting, it is advisable to amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost, to improve its structure and fertility.


Pruning is an essential aspect of European cranberrybush maintenance, contributing to shape control, improved flowering, and overall plant health. Here are some key tips for effective pruning:

  • Timing: Prune the plant during the dormant season in late winter or early spring to encourage vigorous regrowth as the growing season commences.

  • Techniques: Remove dead or damaged wood, thin out overcrowded branches, and shape the plant to maintain an open, well-ventilated structure.

  • Heading Back: To promote bushier growth and increased flower production, consider heading back the previous year’s growth by a third of its length.


European cranberrybush can be propagated using various methods, including softwood cuttings, hardwood cuttings, and seed propagation. Softwood cuttings are typically taken in late spring to early summer, while hardwood cuttings are collected in the late fall or early winter. Propagating from seeds is also viable, but it may result in some variations in the offspring compared to the parent plant.

Container Popularity

While European cranberrybush is commonly grown in the ground, it also possesses attributes that make it suitable for container cultivation. Its compact size, attractive foliage, and ornamental blooms render it an excellent choice for container gardening, adding a touch of elegance to patios, balconies, and small gardens.

Common Diseases

Disease Diagnosis

European cranberrybush is generally resistant to many common plant diseases. However, like all plants, it may be susceptible to certain issues under unfavorable growing conditions or environmental stressors. Keep an eye out for signs of the following potential diseases:

  • Powdery Mildew: A fungal disease that can result in a powdery white coating on the leaves, often caused by poor air circulation and high humidity. To prevent powdery mildew, ensure proper spacing between plants, and avoid overhead watering.

  • Anthracnose: This fungal disease can cause dark, sunken lesions on the leaves, stems, and berries. Implementing good sanitation practices and promptly removing and destroying infected plant material can help manage anthracnose.

  • Bacterial Leaf Spot: Symptoms include the formation of small, water-soaked spots on the leaves, which may lead to leaf drop and reduced plant vigor. To mitigate bacterial leaf spot, avoid overhead watering and maintain proper plant spacing to enhance air circulation.

Common Pests

European cranberrybush is relatively resistant to most pests, but it may occasionally be targeted by certain insects. Here are some common pests to watch out for:

  • Aphids: These small, sap-sucking insects can cause damage to the plant by distorting new growth and transmitting diseases. Regularly inspect the plant for aphid infestations and utilize natural predators or insecticidal soaps if necessary.

  • Scale Insects: Scale insects can appear as small, raised bumps on the stems and leaves, feeding on plant sap. They may cause yellowing or wilting of the foliage. Pruning affected branches and applying horticultural oil can help control scale infestations.

  • Viburnum Leaf Beetle: This pest primarily targets plants in the Viburnum genus, feeding on the leaves and causing significant defoliation. Hand-picking and destroying adults and larvae can help manage Viburnum leaf beetle populations.

Botanist’s Tips

  • Companion Planting: Pair European cranberrybush with other flowering shrubs, such as hydrangeas and azaleas, to create visually appealing and diverse garden beds.

  • Pollinator Gardens: Utilize European cranberrybush in pollinator-friendly gardens to attract and support bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects.

  • Soil Amendments: Regularly incorporate organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, into the soil to enhance its fertility and structure, promoting optimal growth.

  • Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the plant to conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, and maintain a consistent soil temperature.

  • Pruning Regularity: Implement annual pruning to remove dead or damaged wood, maintain an open plant structure, and promote healthy growth and flowering.

Fun Facts

  • European cranberrybush is also referred to as European snowball, Guelder rose, and water elder.

  • The bark of Viburnum opulus has been historically used to make traditional herbal remedies, including teas and tinctures.

  • The plant’s berries are known to persist on the shrub well into the winter, providing a source of food for birds when other resources are scarce.

  • European cranberrybush can reach a height and spread of 8 to 12 feet, creating an impressive visual impact in the landscape.

  • The viburnum genus encompasses over 150 species, with a wide range of ornamental and ecological characteristics.

Links to External Resources

For further information on European cranberrybush and related topics, explore the following external resources:


In conclusion, European cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’) is a remarkable and versatile shrub that offers an array of aesthetic, ecological, and practical benefits. From its stunning ornamental value to its wildlife-friendly qualities and historical uses in traditional medicine, this plant holds a special place in gardens and landscapes. By understanding its culture, maintenance requirements, and unique attributes, plant enthusiasts can fully appreciate and effectively cultivate the beauty and benefits of European cranberrybush.

With its splendid flowers, attractive foliage, and enriching contributions to biodiversity, the European cranberrybush stands as a testament to the wondrous diversity and value of plant life in our natural world.

We hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable insights into European cranberrybush and inspired a deeper appreciation for the captivating qualities of this remarkable plant. Happy gardening!


  1. “Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’.” Royal Horticultural Society,

  2. “European Cranberrybush.” North Carolina State Extension,

  3. “Viburnum opulus ‘Roseum’.” Missouri Botanical Garden,

  4. “Growing Viburnums.” Gardeners’ World,

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Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.