Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
For 2010 the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers selected the snowball viburnums as the woody cut flower of the year. There are several species of these spring snowballs.
The large, rounded, terminal flower clusters are ball-like. Depending on the stage at which they’re cut, these can be white or greenish. In general, most snowballs tend to be scented. These are used as both a cut and dried flower. There are over 150 viburnum species worldwide in cultivation.
These cut flowers are called Guelder rose. The stems are available commercially up until May or so.
As fresh cut flowers, these have a vase life of about seven days. They’re used as a mass flower. These provide a wonderful texture to floral designs. Snowballs are especially suitable for mixed bouquets. They’re a favorite for weddings. In addition, they’re a good choice for public gatherings, such as churches.
Some of the berried stems of the viburnums are also used in floral designs as well. The fruits are actually fleshy drupes. The American cranberry bush is noted for its gorgeous fruits, which appear in large clusters. These can be cut at any stage.
Cutting Snowball Viburnum Stems
You can enjoy the flowers a lot longer if you cut the stems when the florets are still green. The individual flower clusters should still be tight. Each stem will need to be cut individually.
If the stems are terribly thick and woody, hit the cut end with a hammer. This allows the stems to absorb water.
Using Snowball Viburnums as Cut Flowers
These can be arranged just as you would hydrangeas. They look particularly beautiful when combined with lilacs.
Strip the leaves from the stems as needed. The leaves can be used as greens in floral arrangements.
If the flower cluster begins to wilt before you get the stems arranged, revive it by recutting the stem end and conditioning them in warm water. The stems will be easier to arrange if you tie them together en masse just as you would with hydrangeas. Shorten the stems as needed.
Use snowball viburnums to provide support to other cut flower stems. Cut the viburnum stems so the flower heads rests on top of the container. Next, insert tall flower stems into the snowballs heads. The snowballs will have a vase life of about five to seven days.
Drying Snowball Viburnums
The individual clusters of blossoms can be cut from the flower head. Then, these small florets and the tiny clusters can be pressed and dried in a microwave.
Growing Snowballs as Cut Flowers
The viburnums are very easy to grow. These are adaptable, care free shrubs that require little attention. Generally, they prefer a moist, well drained soil. They’re well adapted to a range of soil types and aren’t very fussy. They grow best in full sun and partial shade.
For best results, keep the snowballs and other viburnums well watered during droughts. Otherwise they will fail to produce the flowers and fruits you want to use in floral arrangements.