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Snowball Bushes: Gifts of Light

Updated on June 30, 2014

Giant Flowers for Gardeners

One of the best Mother's Day gifts I ever gave my Mom was a Chinese viburnum, or snowball bush. It's grown over the last fifteen years into a huge shrub, overshadowing the house and bursting out into giant round blooms twice a year. In the twilight, they glow softly, like paper lanterns.

The blossoming globes are composed of hundreds of white, star-shaped petals. When their season is over, it looks as though stars fell to cover the sidewalk.

Not all snowball bushes will get this big. Some varieties are smaller, and you need a warm climate for them to reach their best height. But even a small one will be four to six feet, plenty big for most yards! They make dramatic gifts for anyone who loves gardening. Once established, the bush will produce huge blossoms for many years.

[Photos by Valerie Proctor Davis]

Plant a Snowball Tree - Give this one lots of room!

The warmer the climate, the bigger this variety will get, with flowers more like soccer balls than soft balls! It may bloom again in fall.

Snowball Hedge - Plant several in a row

If you don't have room for a giant tree, this smaller sized variety grows 4 to 6 feet. It makes a great accent shrub, or you can plant it as a hedge.

Towering Snowballs

In the warm climate and clayey soil of the South, this Chinese viburnum has grown taller than the house. See Dad down at the bottom? Some of the blooms are bigger than his head!

My parents had to take out another tree to make room for the snowball bush to grow straight. It was bent in a big arbor over the walk for a few years.

Beautiful Cut Flowers

Viburnum blooms make lovely arrangements in a jug or large bowl. The flowers are unscented, so they won't aggravate your hay fever.

Snowball Coffee Gift Basket - For a flower lover!

A coffee mug and coasters decorated with snowball flowers, together with gourmet coffees, makes a great gift for a flower-loving gardener!

Dried Snowball Blooms

Dried snowball flowers make a country-style display - Mom keeps one in a hanging wire basket in the kitchen.

If the weather is dry, you can just leave the blooms on the bush until they're dried enough, then cut. If it's damper, cut the blooms at their height and then let them dry indoors in a vase.

Snowball Views - A mountain of snowy spring blossoms.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Find More Plant Gifts

Still looking for a garden gift? Search for plants, seeds, and gardening accessories.

Have You Seen a Snowball Bush?

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    • profile image

      acreativethinker 3 years ago

      They are very lovely bushes. Nice photos and lens. Thanks for sharing.

      Take care :)

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 4 years ago from Naperville, IL

      Yes they are beautiful bushes! Excellent photos here.

    • maryseena profile image

      maryseena 4 years ago

      Just beautiful! Gifts that grow are the best gifts!

    • profile image

      Ruthi 4 years ago

      Are you sure it's not a tree, seriously, it is a giant snowball bush, indeed! What a beauty!

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 4 years ago from Shanghai, China

      Very cool - and I love the name.

    • profile image

      MKEflorist 4 years ago

      I love viburnum. We use a lot of it in our everyday work, especially when they are in season locally.

    • mrdata profile image

      mrdata 4 years ago

      Your Viburnum pictures are amazing! Big thanks for your beautiful lens!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Yes, I used to have one in my backyard. They are really lovely.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      This is the first one I've seen, but I sure hope there's a place for one in my future.

    • francescajohnston profile image

      francescajohnston 4 years ago

      I love Snowball Bushes! 2 of my shrubs died, and I have been considering replacing them with these.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Oh these bring back some childhood memories for me. I live in the Southwest now, in a dryer climate, but my young years were spent in the Southern states. My aunt had these around her house, and I always loved them, plus she was my favorite aunt too! The photos are just lovely, and you tell their story so well.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I have seen them before, but never attempted planting them. They are definitely eye-catching.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 4 years ago

      I am not sure why we have never grown one, but this sure makes me want to give it a try.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 4 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I had no idea these grew so fast. Good idea for when you want to fill a space quickly.

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 4 years ago from USA

      I LOVE Snowball bushes! I've had them a couple of times, and grandma had them too!

    • Jack2205 profile image

      Jack 4 years ago

      I had one that grew six feet tall. I see a lot of them that are planted beside lilac bushes because they bloom at the same time of the year.

    • chi kung profile image

      chi kung 4 years ago

      yes, I have and I like them :)

    • Camden1 profile image

      Camden1 4 years ago

      I haven't ever seen one before, but they are beautiful! It's finally getting warm enough in Colorado to think about planting - I'll have to see if snowball bushes grow here.