Chinese snowball (Viburnum macrocephalum) profile

Written by Maggie

Mar 26 2021

Chinese snowball (Viburnum macrocephalum) profile

Chinese snowball (Viburnum macrocephalum) is a deciduous semi-evergreen shrub of the honeysuckle family. Chinese snowballs blossom in spring, the flower is as big as a plate, as white as jade. Cymes are born at the apex of branches, surrounded by eight sterile flowers developed from sepals, with bisexual florets in the middle.  

Chinese snowball picture

Chinese snowball

Chinese snowball info

Botanical Name Viburnum macrocephalum
Common Names Chinese snowball, Chinese snowball viburnum
Plant Type Shrub
Sun Full sun to part shade
Hardiness Zones 3-8
Flower color White
Native Area China
Mature size 12-20 feet tall

Morphological characteristics of Chinese snowball

Chinese Snowball inflorescences surrounded only by large sterile flowers, corolla 3 -- 4.2 cm in diameter, lobes ovate or suborbicular, apex often indented; Calyx teeth of fertile flowers are ovate, ca. 1 mm long, corolla white, radiate, 7-10 mm in diam., lobes broadly ovate, ca. 2.5 mm long, tube ca. 1.5 mm long, stamens slightly higher than corolla, anthers suborbicular, ca. 1 mm long.

Fruit of Chinese snowball is red then black, elliptic, ca. 12 mm long;Nucleus oblate, rectangular to broadly elliptic, 10-12 mm long, 6-8 mm in diameter, with 2 superficial dorsal sulcus and 3 superficial abdominal sulcus. 

The ecological habits of Chinese snowball

Chinese snowball is light - loving, slightly shade - tolerant, warm and humid climate, more cold - resistant, suitable for fertile, moist, well-drained soil growth. Chinese snowballs are harder to cold, and can adapt to the general soil, good in moist and fertile places. The growth is vigorous, germination and tillering ability are strong, the seeds have the habit of sprouting every other year.

The distribution area of Chinese snowball

Chinese snowball is produced in southern Jiangsu, western Anhui, Zhejiang, northwestern Jiangxi, western Hubei and southern Hunan. Chinese snowball was born in the hills, hillside forest or thicket. The Garden is often cultivated.

Propagation of Chinese snowball

Seed propagation

Chinese snowball commonly used seed propagation, November seed, stack after ripe, the seeds will be washed, low temperature stratification to the next spring sowing, the soil should be slightly thick, covered with grass. In summer of that year, a part of the germination unearthed, at this time can uncover grass shading, leave the bed A2 years can change the bed planting, 4 ~ 5 years can be transplanted for garden beautification. Chinese snowball transplantation: Chinese snowball transplantation is easy to survive, and should be carried out before budding in early spring. It is better to take a semi-shade environment, and pay attention to fertilizer and water management after completion. The main branch is easy to germinate long branches, disturb the tree form, after the Flower can be appropriate pruning, summer cut to the end of long branches, to the whole plant form, after the flower should be fertilized once, in order to grow. 

Chinese snowball Fruit is a stone fruit in a single fruit class. The endocarp is very hard and wrapped outside the seed. The seed harvest period is usually in autumn, and the black exocarp of the seed is the sign of maturity. Seeds should be sand storage after harvest, the next Tomb Sweeping Day out, wash the pericarp, the seed shell (endocarp) peeled, or wear part of the seed shell, or with 0.1% dilute acid solution soaked for 24 hours, the seed shell softened and then sown, untreated seeds are generally difficult to seedlings that year. After sowing soil about 1.5 cm, such as pot sowing should be often watered, loose soil, so that seedlings are unearthed as soon as possible.

Grafting propagation

Chinese snowball seedlings generally take 7 to 8 years to blossom. However, if the branches with flower buds of adult Chinese snowballs are grafted, they can blossom in the first year after survival.

Grafting method is: in early spring (before the bud initiation), take the mother tree branches that can blossom (usually the peripheral branches in the upper part of the crown), cut a section about 5 centimeters long for the scion, leaving the terminal bud is more ideal, generally with high grafting method. Shading place after grafting. After the bud of the scion gives off the leaf, it is placed directly in the sun.There is a growth correlation between the trunk and branches of Chinese snowballs. When the lateral branches are connected high, the top of the trunk should be cut off to accelerate the survival and growth of the scion, so that it can enter the flowering stage as soon as possible.

Chinese snowballs

How to grow and care for Chinese snowball 


Chinese snowball viburnum can tolerate full solar to section color conditions. However, for finest flower production, the Chinese snowball viburnum requires at least 6 hours of full solar a day. Too good a deal coloration will cause the shrubs blooms to emerge as sparse and the shrub to come to be leggy.


Chinese snowball wishes well-drained, barely acidic soil for high-quality performance. However, it is tolerable of an extensive variety of soil stipulations and additionally tolerates alkaline soil well. Avoid soils that preserve too much water, as Chinese snowball viburnum does now not like to be waterlogged.


Keep the soil evenly moist during the 12 months for the Chinese snowball. Depending on the temperature in your area, the watering agenda may additionally vary, however figuring out and sticking to a watering agenda will assist the Chinese snowball viburnum produce the most gorgeous exhibit of blooms.

Temperature and humidity

Chinese snowball viburnum is hardy in zones 3-8, so it is accustomed to bloodless winters. However, it struggles in extraordinarily warm climates the place it may additionally want to be shaded from the extreme rays of the sun, and require extra water and humidity than usual.


Fertilize Chinese snowball viburnums at planting, and then yearly after flowering. Use an all-purpose fertilizer that is formulated for shrubs for the first-rate results.


After flowering, the Chinese snowball viburnum can take advantage of some mild pruning to form the shrub and trim useless ends. Every couple of years, it can gain from a greater extreme pruning to assist inspire greater considerable growth. Expect that increase will be barely stalled at some point of the first developing season following a heavy pruning, however will be full of life in the following years.

Prevention and control of diseases and pests of Chinese snowball

Chinese snowball has strong adaptability. It can be cultivated in sand, clay and general soil, etc. The roots of seedlings cultivated in sand are developed. The growing season should pay attention to thin fertilizer application. If the leaves of Chinese snowballs are found yellow, 1/1000 ferrous sulfate solution can be used to spray the leaves. Chinese snowball leaves have more fur and are generally not susceptible to pests. But the keratinization degree of next epidermis is lower, the secretion when spore of some germs is germinating can dissolve this part cuticle layer, so in the season of plum rain, you need to spray some bordeaux liquid to prevent and cure normally. In addition, the refraction of Chinese snowball cuticles is medium, so it is not suitable to be exposed to the sun directly on summer days.

Chinese snowball branches, leaf, fruit can be used as medicine, with the meridian, detoxification and antipruritic effect.

Uses of Chinese snowball 

Medical uses

The stem of Chinese snowball  has a clearing damp to stop itching, clear heat antiphlogistic and detoxifying medicinal effect.

Ornamental value

Chinese snowballs are mainly used for viewing. Chinese snowballs have a long life. A Chinese snowball planted in Daming Temple in Yangzhou during the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty has a history of more than 300 years and is still flourishing today with the same charm as before. The beauty of Chinese snowballs is a kind of beauty with a unique charm. At the turn of spring and summer, there are many beautiful flowers in nature. However, Chinese snowball flowers are white as jade, graceful and elegant, especially delicate and elegant. However, when the autumn wind is bleak and the flowers fall in profusion and decay, Chinese snowball shows the charming autumn color of green leaves and red fruits. Its leaves and fruits, set against each other with red and green, are particularly bright and timeless, adding gorgeous colors and a cheerful atmosphere to the bleak autumn colors. Chinese Snowball has wide branches and a spherical crown. The tree is graceful and chic.

The beauty of Chinese snowball lies in its distinctive pattern. Its flowers are as big as a jade basin, surrounded by eight five-petaled flowers, surrounded by the middle of the white pearl-like flowers (not yet open bisexual flowers), surrounded by a group of butterflies like stamens, the breeze blowing, gently swaying, like butterflies play beads; It is like the eight immortals dancing, charming and graceful. "Thousand points of real bead Qing Rui, a ring of bright moon broken fragrant flower." No wind inch, and like eight fairies around a round table, drinking tea together. Chinese snowball is rare among plants, so people love it especially, and the beautiful name: "gather the eight immortals".

Chinese snowballs