Possum haw Viburnum nudum berries

Berries for the birds

by Comments (5)

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There are dozens of species of songbirds across North America that rely on berries and fruits to help see them through the winter. We gardeners play an important role in supporting these beautiful birds. Planting a variety of native, berry-producing shrubs is one simple way to lend our feathered friends a helpful hand.

A favorite of both the birds and the people in my garden is possum haw, Viburnum nudum. This North American shrub is hardy from Zone 5 to 9 and has plenty to delight the eye in every season. Each fall, possum haw has a collection of colorful berries at the tip of every branch. When the berries are young, they’re a soft pink, but as they mature, they change to a deep purple-black. The display is simply stunning!

The straight species of this shrub grows up to eight feet tall, but there are some shorter cultivars on the market as well. No matter which cultivar you choose, when autumn temperatures drop the glossy green foliage turns to a dark maroon, further helping highlight the gorgeous berries. And, to add the proverbial icing to the cake, the fragrant white flowers of possum haw are very attractive to butterflies and other pollinators. To optimize berry production, be sure to plant several bushes. This increases pollination and fruit set. Possum haw is definitely one shrub that deserves a home in every garden!

What berry-producing shrubs do the songbirds favor in your backyard? Tell us about them! 

Possum haw viburnum berries

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5 Responses to Berries for the birds

  1. Deb Swartzlander says:

    Is the possum haw, viburnum nudum, tolerant to the viburnum leaf beetle? I have an arrowwood viburnum that has been eaten by this beetle for the last three years. I had read other varieties do better. And where can I find the possum haw…it sounds like just what I would love to have in my yard!

  2. CM RS says:

    Lovely idea. I am now looking for the right space in my backyard for this.

  3. Ron Mitchell says:

    Happy to see a native being featured. Their are too many non-natives that become invasive. I’m thinking of some of the honeysuckles, etc. Natives fit into the food web much better.

  4. Glynis says:

    Another great collection of thoughtful gardening advise! AKA, how to live with the natural word. I have had the joy of growing many of the listed trees and shrubs and was absolutely thrilled to see, what I came to know as the Northern Current in Nova Scotia show cased here. It’s a joy in so many ways – it truly is a four season shrub plus the birds seem to take pleasure in flitting around in its irregular branches. Thank you.

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