Story and Photos by Hubert P. Conlon
Visit his blog here: whatgrowsthere.com
‘Dawn’ viburnum is a multi-stemmed, 8-10-foot-tall shrub that blooms in late winter and deserves to be planted in more Tennessee gardens (USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9). It offers four seasons of landscape beauty. In the first warm days of March, the reddish buds swell and clusters of clear pink, tubular flowers open. Two to three weeks later, 2-4 inch-long serrated leaves emerge with decorative bronze edging. The glossy, dark green summer foliage turns a lovely burgundy in fall, which is also when the flowers give way to red fruits (drupes) that ripen to black, provided they have not been damaged by spring frosts. Even the naked winter branches are an eye-catching cinnamon color.
No serious insect or disease problems trouble this viburnum. Site this early-blooming shrub where the flowers will be protected from spring freezes.
Quick Facts and Keys to Success
Common Name: ‘Dawn’ viburnum
Botanical Name: Viburnum x bodnantense (cross between V. farreri and V. grandiflorum)
Variety/cultivar: ‘Dawn’ (sometimes called ‘Pink Dawn’)
Type: Medium-sized spring-flowering shrub
Size: 8-10 feet tall and 4-6 feet wide
Flowers: Pink blooms late winter to early spring
Soil: Average, well drained, moderately acidic
When to Plant: Any time from container-grown stock
Exposure: full to part day sunlight (6 hours or more for best flowering).
Watering: Irrigate during extreme dry periods; apply 2-3 inches of organic mulch in spring to conserve soil moisture.
Fertilizer: Slow-release fertilizer in early spring
When to Prune: Immediately after flowering to maintain desired height and remove weak, spindly branches.
In Your Landscape: As a single specimen, foundation planting, or hedge or privacy screen; wildlife interest in fruits in the fall and winter.