Plant Encyclopedia

Red Balloon®

Viburnum x rhytidophylloides

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Red Balloon®

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The Red Balloon® Viburnum (Viburnum x rhytidophylloides) is a distinctive and charming shrub that brings multi-season interest to any garden or landscape. This plant is particularly noted for its hardiness in zones 4 through 8, making it a robust choice for a variety of climates. The Red Balloon® is a deciduous shrub, which means it sheds its leaves annually, but not without first putting on a splendid show throughout the year.

In the spring, the Red Balloon® is adorned with large, lacy white flower clusters that create a stunning visual impact. These blossoms are not only beautiful but also attract butterflies, adding to the biodiversity of your garden. As the seasons progress, the flowers give way to green fruit which ripens into a brilliant red by late summer. This transformation adds a dynamic element to the plant's aesthetic appeal.

Plant Attributes

The Red Balloon® Viburnum, scientifically known as Viburnum x rhytidophylloides, is a tall, deciduous shrub that exemplifies both beauty and versatility in the landscape. It typically reaches a height and spread of 6 to 8 feet, making it a substantial presence in any garden setting. This shrub thrives under varying light conditions, from part sun to full sun, which makes it adaptable to different garden environments. The optimal amount of sunlight for its best growth is between 4 to 6 hours of direct exposure daily.

Flower-wise, the Red Balloon® is a spring marvel, with its bloom time spanning early, mid, and late spring. It showcases stunning white flowers that add a touch of elegance to the garden. Post-blossoming, the plant produces attractive berries, which transition from green to a vivid red in the fall, providing seasonal interest and attracting butterflies.

Landscape Use

The Red Balloon® Viburnum, with its striking appearance and versatile nature, can be used in a variety of landscaping applications:

  1. Hedge or Screen: Its dense growth habit makes it an excellent choice for creating natural hedges or privacy screens. When planted in a row, it forms a lush green barrier that can delineate property lines or obscure unsightly views.
  2. Foundation Planting: Due to its moderate size, the Red Balloon® Viburnum is ideal for foundation plantings. It can add visual interest to the base of a house or building without overwhelming the structure.
  3. Specimen Plant: With its beautiful spring flowers and vibrant fall berries, this viburnum can serve as a stunning focal point in a garden. It's particularly effective when planted as a solitary specimen where its multi-seasonal beauty can be appreciated.
  4. Mixed Border: The shrub can be integrated into mixed borders alongside other plants. It pairs well with both evergreen and deciduous shrubs, as well as perennials, offering a contrasting texture and color.
  5. Wildlife Garden: As a plant that attracts butterflies and provides food for wildlife, it's a great addition to a wildlife or natural garden, contributing to local biodiversity.
  6. Mass Planting: For larger landscapes, mass planting of Red Balloon® Viburnum creates a dramatic and cohesive look, especially effective in large borders or as a backdrop to other garden plants.
  7. Windbreak: In windier locations, this viburnum can be used as part of a windbreak or shelterbelt, helping to protect more delicate plants and reduce wind erosion.
  8. Container Gardening: While it is a larger shrub, it can also be grown in large containers where its striking foliage and berries can be appreciated up close, such as on patios or deck areas.

Planting & Care

Caring for and planting the Red Balloon® Viburnum (Viburnum x rhytidophylloides) involves several key steps to ensure its healthy growth and vibrant display:

Planting Instructions

  1. Timing: Plant in early spring or fall to allow time for root establishment before extreme temperatures.
  2. Location: Choose a spot with part sun to full sun exposure (4-6 hours of direct sunlight).
  3. Soil: Prefers moist, well-drained, slightly acidic soil. Amend soil with compost or peat moss if necessary.
  4. Planting Depth and Spacing: Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Plant the shrub at the same depth it was in the container. Space plants 6-8 feet apart if planting in a row.
  5. Watering after Planting: Water thoroughly after planting to settle the soil around the roots.

Ongoing Care

  1. Watering: Water regularly during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. Once established, the Red Balloon® Viburnum is somewhat drought-tolerant but benefits from occasional watering during extended dry periods.
  2. Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch around the base to retain soil moisture and regulate temperature.
  3. Fertilizing: Feed in early spring with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for shrubs.
  4. Pruning: Prune to shape after flowering. This is also a good time to remove any dead or damaged branches.
  5. Pest and Disease Management: Generally, this plant is quite hardy, but keep an eye out for common pests and diseases that can affect viburnums. Treat any issues promptly with appropriate methods.

Additional Tips

  • For increased berry production, plant near 'Mohican' or 'Alleghany' viburnums to improve pollination.
  • Be aware that while the berries are attractive, they are not edible for humans.
  • In colder climates (zones 4 and 5), provide some winter protection in the form of extra mulch or burlap screens.

Following these guidelines will help ensure your Red Balloon® Viburnum thrives and becomes a beautiful, long-lasting addition to your garden.

Additional Information

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Red Balloon®


Plant Features

  • Plant Type: Shrub
  • Watering Needs: Average; requires regular watering initially, then can tolerate less frequent watering
  • Botanical Pronunciation: vy-BUR-num x rhy-ti-do-fy-LOY-dees
  • Deciduous/evergreen: Deciduous
  • Growth rate: Moderate
  • Average landscape size: Grows to a height and spread of 6-8 feet
  • Special features: Multi-season interest, Attracts Butterflies, Deer Resistant, Shade Tolerant
  • Foliage color: Green
  • Blooms: Early, Mid, and Late Spring
  • Flower color: White
  • Flower attributes: Large, Lacy Clusters
  • Garden style: Traditional, Cottage, Wildlife Garden
  • Design Ideas: Ideal for use as a hedge, foundation planting, or as a standalone specimen in a garden. Can be planted in groups to create a natural privacy screen or windbreak. Its multi-seasonal interest makes it suitable for various landscape themes.
  • Companion Plants: Works well with 'Mohican' or 'Alleghany' varieties for increased berry production. Can be paired with plants that enjoy similar sun and soil conditions, like azaleas, rhododendrons, and hydrangeas.

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