Smooth Witherod (Viburnum Nudum ‘Winterthur’)

Plant: Table of Contents

Smooth Witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’): A Comprehensive Guide

Smooth witherod, scientifically referred to as Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’, is a captivating and versatile shrub that is cherished by gardeners and landscapers alike. Known for its vibrant foliage, colorful berries, and ability to thrive in various conditions, this species has become a popular choice for both residential and commercial landscapes. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various aspects of smooth witherod, including its culture, uses, care requirements, and more. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just starting out, this guide will equip you with valuable insights into nurturing and maximizing the beauty of the smooth witherod shrub in your own green spaces.

What is Smooth Witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’)?

Smooth witherod, also known by its botanical name Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’, is a deciduous shrub that belongs to the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae. It is native to the eastern United States, particularly thriving in wetland areas and along the borders of ponds and streams. The ‘Winterthur’ cultivar was developed in the Winterthur Gardens in Delaware, hence its name.

Key Takeaways – Smooth Witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’)

Before delving into the details of smooth witherod, let’s summarize the key takeaways that will be explored in this guide:

  • Culture
  • Uses
  • Water
  • Sunlight
  • Fertilizer
  • Soil
  • Pruning
  • Propagation
  • Container Popularity
  • Common Diseases
  • Common Pests
  • Botanist’s Tips
  • Fun Facts
  • Links to External Resources

Now, let’s explore each of these aspects in detail to gain a holistic understanding of the smooth witherod shrub.


Cultivating smooth witherod requires an understanding of its preferred growing conditions, seasonal needs, and overall care practices. By providing the right environment and attentive care, you can ensure the healthy growth and abundant beauty of this remarkable shrub.


Smooth witherod thrives in partial to full sun exposure, making it adaptable to a range of light conditions. When choosing a planting location, aim for an area that receives at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Adequate sunlight is crucial for promoting robust growth, vibrant foliage, and profuse flowering in the smooth witherod shrub.


The ideal soil for smooth witherod is moist, well-draining, and rich in organic matter. It prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH range between 5.5 and 6.5. When planting or transplanting smooth witherod, amending the soil with compost or peat moss can enhance its moisture retention and nutrient content, providing an optimal foundation for the shrub’s growth.


Maintaining adequate moisture levels is essential in the care of smooth witherod, especially during its establishment phase. While the shrub exhibits good tolerance to occasional wet conditions, it is important to prevent waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot and other issues. Providing consistent but not excessive moisture, particularly during dry spells, will support the overall health and vitality of smooth witherod.


Smooth witherod generally thrives without heavy fertilizer applications, especially when planted in nutrient-rich soil. However, a balanced, slow-release fertilizer can be applied in early spring to provide an extra boost for vigorous growth and blooming. Opt for a fertilizer with a formulation such as 10-10-10, and ensure that it is dispersed evenly around the base of the shrub, following the recommended application rates.


The versatile nature of smooth witherod makes it valuable for various landscaping and gardening purposes. Whether it’s adding visual interest, supporting wildlife, or creating a picturesque backdrop, this shrub offers an array of uses that cater to both aesthetic and ecological goals.

Landscape Ornament

One of the primary uses of smooth witherod is as a striking landscape ornament. Its glossy green foliage, clusters of white flowers, and abundant berries in the fall make it a visually appealing addition to gardens, borders, and naturalized areas. The vibrant transformation of smooth witherod through the seasons adds dynamic charm to any landscape, making it an admired feature in both residential and commercial settings.

Wildlife Attraction

Smooth witherod’s berry production serves as a valuable food source for wildlife, attracting birds and other fauna to the garden. Its ability to support biodiversity aligns with sustainable landscaping practices and contributes to the ecological balance of the environment. By incorporating smooth witherod into your landscape, you can foster a habitat that welcomes and sustains various forms of wildlife.

Hedging and Screening

The dense, multi-stemmed growth habit of smooth witherod makes it well-suited for creating hedges and privacy screens. Whether used as a standalone hedge or mixed with other shrubs, its attractive foliage, seasonal interest, and adaptability to pruning make it an excellent choice for delineating spaces and adding aesthetic appeal to boundary plantings.


Pruning plays a pivotal role in shaping the form, promoting flowering, and maintaining the health of smooth witherod. Understanding the appropriate timing and techniques for pruning is essential for optimizing the shrub’s growth and visual impact.

Pruning for Form and Structure

Prune smooth witherod selectively to enhance its natural form and remove any damaged, dead, or crossing branches. Conduct formative pruning during the dormant season to establish a well-balanced framework and encourage healthy growth. Additionally, regular light pruning can help maintain the shrub’s shape and prevent it from becoming overly dense.

Pruning for Flowering

Smooth witherod blooms on the previous year’s growth, so pruning should be done shortly after flowering to prevent removing the next year’s flower buds. This approach ensures that the shrub continues to produce bountiful blooms and preserves its ornamental value. By adhering to proper pruning timing, you can enjoy a consistent display of flowers each year.


For those interested in propagating smooth witherod to expand their garden or share its beauty with others, several methods can be employed to successfully propagate this shrub.

Seed Propagation

While smooth witherod can be grown from seeds, it’s important to note that the resulting plants may exhibit natural variation and may take several years to reach maturity and flowering. If collecting seeds from the shrub, ensure they are fully ripened and follow recommended guidelines for seed germination and establishment.

Softwood Cuttings

Propagating through softwood cuttings offers a reliable method for producing genetic replicas of the parent plant. Select healthy, young stems in late spring to early summer, and prepare cuttings with a rooting hormone to expedite the rooting process. By providing optimal environmental conditions and care, successful rooting and establishment of cuttings can be achieved within a few months.

Common Diseases

Like many plants, smooth witherod is susceptible to certain diseases that can affect its overall health and vigor. Understanding these potential issues and implementing preventative measures can help safeguard the shrub against common diseases.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew, a fungal disease that manifests as a white, powdery coating on the leaves, can afflict smooth witherod, especially in humid or crowded planting conditions. To mitigate the risk of powdery mildew, ensure proper air circulation around the shrub, maintain an optimal watering regimen, and consider using fungicidal treatments if the disease becomes problematic.

Leaf Spot

Leaf spot diseases, characterized by the formation of dark spots on the foliage, can occur in smooth witherod, particularly under conditions of high humidity and poor air circulation. Improved cultural practices, such as avoiding overhead watering and reducing leaf moisture, can help minimize the development and spread of leaf spot diseases.

Common Pests

Pest infestations can pose a threat to the health and aesthetics of smooth witherod. Recognizing the signs of common pests and employing control measures when necessary is crucial for preserving the shrub’s vitality.


Aphids are a common pest that may target smooth witherod, feeding on its sap and often congregating on the undersides of leaves. To deter aphids, introduce natural predators such as ladybugs, or consider using insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils as a targeted yet environmentally friendly control method.

Viburnum Beetle

Viburnum beetles can cause damage to smooth witherod by consuming the shrub’s leaves and creating unsightly defoliation. Monitoring the shrub for signs of viburnum beetle activity and promptly addressing infestations through physical removal or approved insecticides can help minimize the impact of this pest.

Botanist’s Tips

As a botanist deeply familiar with smooth witherod, I offer the following tips to help you cultivate and appreciate this exceptional shrub:

  • When planting smooth witherod, consider its mature size and allow ample space to accommodate its growth without overcrowding.
  • Incorporate a mix of smooth witherod cultivars and companion plants to create diverse and visually engaging landscapes.
  • Regularly monitor the shrub for any signs of stress, disease, or pest activity, addressing any issues proactively to maintain its overall vigor and appeal.

Fun Facts

To further enrich your appreciation for smooth witherod, here are some captivating and lesser-known facts about this remarkable shrub:

  • The ‘Winterthur’ cultivar of smooth witherod is named after Winterthur Gardens in Delaware, where it was selected and propagated for its exceptional attributes.
  • Smooth witherod’s berries, in shades of pink, blue, and black, add striking visual interest to the landscape and serve as a valuable food source for birds during the colder months.
  • The vibrant fall foliage of smooth witherod showcases an array of hues, ranging from reddish-purple to bronze, contributing to the captivating autumnal allure of the shrub.


Smooth witherod (Viburnum nudum ‘Winterthur’) stands as a testament to the beauty and resilience of native plant species. Through its adaptable nature, seasonal transformations, and ecological contributions, this remarkable shrub has earned its place as a cherished component of diverse landscapes and gardens. By understanding its cultivation, uses, care requirements, and unique attributes, you can harness the full potential of smooth witherod and cultivate thriving, visually captivating green spaces that endure and inspire.

As we continue to explore the intricate world of plants and their multifaceted contributions, let us embrace the beauty and significance of species like smooth witherod, forging connections with nature and fostering sustainable, enriching environments that resonate with life and vitality.

This comprehensive guide aims to provide a holistic understanding of smooth witherod and equip you with the knowledge and insights to cultivate and appreciate this exceptional shrub. By integrating the principles and practices shared in this guide into your gardening endeavors, you can embark on a rewarding journey of nurturing and celebrating the enduring allure of smooth witherod.

External Resources:
Missouri Botanical Garden – Viburnum nudum
The Spruce – How to Grow Smooth Witherod Viburnum
North Carolina State Extension – Viburnum Species: A Guide to ID and Use
USDA Plants Database – Viburnum nudum
University of Florida IFAS Extension – Viburnum Witherod

Picture of Peter Taylors

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.