Forest Rouge Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium ‘McKRouge’)

Forest Rouge Blackhaw Viburnum

Fall color in the shade is hard to come by! Often plants need full sun to bring out their strongest fall color. Not so with the Forest Rouge Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium ‘McKRouge’)! It can develop a wonderful fall color display with only a few hours of sunlight a day.

The leathery, large leaves start out as beautiful yellow-green in the spring and age to dark, shiny green for summer. The new leaves gain a visual boost because of their showy young stems, which emerge dark red. You’ll love the contrast!

Large clusters of creamy-white flat-topped lacy flowers appear in mid-spring and become fast pollinator favorites! They resemble the pretty, delicate Elderberry flowers, and butterflies adore them.

Over time, the flowers develop into handsome, bluish-black berries that hold on to the plant from fall until winter. That is if your local birds and other wildlife population doesn’t strip them first. These plants are wonderful natural bird feeders and help support birds in your area. Called wild raisins, the mildly sweet fruit is high in Vitamin C and can be used by people too in preserves, sauces, and baked goods. Plant Forest Rouge with another Blackhaw Viburnum or Viburnum prunifolium variety for an increased fruit set!

Of course, you’ve probably studied the photos of that deep, delicious orange-red-to-purple fall foliage. It’s one of the best displays available. Plus, it starts early and ends late! Some leaves start to show color in August, and they hold the deep maroon color late into the season. The exterior leaves are purplish, and the interior leaves turn very red. This shrub is highly recommended for showy fall foliage. It gives a dependable performance year after year that lasts a long time from late summer into fall.

Planting and Application:

The selection of this hardy native bush will happily show off in a partially shady corner of your garden. It will perform equally well in a sunny spot. You’ll want to be sure to site it where you’ll see it, either from the house or along the path to a special destination spot in your landscape.

This marvelous native shrub really has it all. Deep fall color, rugged good looks, delicate spring flowers for butterflies and honeybees, and built-in bird feed in autumn and winter. You’ll feel great about including Forest Rouge Blackhaw Viburnum in your landscape.

Give it plenty of room to grow into its mature size and spread. This is a plant that looks best in a naturalized setting. For informal hedges and privacy screens, these colorful flowering ornamentals will add lush seclusion to your backyard retreats!

The Blackhaw berries are nicknamed Wild Raisin. These deep purple fruits are high in Vitamin C and full of carbohydrates. They’ll definitely become a favorite for your local songbirds!

Include it with other Viburnum species as a very special mixed shrub border. Add Chickasaw Plum to support the needs of wildlife on your property. Introduce more berries for birds from Nature Hills collection of Aronia Chokeberry shrubs for an ornamental edible landscape!

Or, pair it with a grouping of Eastern Red Cedar, or Eastern White Pine trees. Its lavish fall tones truly pop near evergreen plants. Underplant the sunny side with smaller evergreens, such as Blueberry Delight Juniper. Or plant with another Viburnum prunifolium to significantly increase pollination and berries for your and your bird’s enjoyment!

Commercial property owners, create foot traffic for your business with an application of earth-friendly plants, especially if you have a natural water feature like a creek running on the grounds. This tall shrub makes a dynamic mass planting and can be used to fill wide, open ground.

Be sure to advertise your landscape design choices with on-site plant identification plaques and a full description online. After all, customers are using their dollars these days to show appreciation for thoughtful corporations. Make a big splash with Forest Rouge Blackhaw Viburnum.

Plant 4 feet apart on center to create a solid screen. You’ll measure from the center of one to the center of the next. Mulch newly installed mass plantings and keep them weeded until the plants grow to touch.

Another unique way to use these sculptural plants is as a standalone specimen. Try them in the center of a formal planting bed, outlined in sheared Boxwood hedging. This subtle play between formal edging and the freeform shape of your Blackhaw will give your landscape a very modern feel.

  • Flat-Topped Clusters of Creamy White Flowers Appear in Mid Spring
  • Edible Blue Black Fruit – Called Wild Raisins
  • Outstanding Maroon Fall Color Lasts & Lasts
  • Pollinator & Bird Friendly!
  • Hardy Native Cultivar With An Oval Upright Form
  • Excellent Hedge or Low Screen, Specimen & Fall Color Accent

Tips for Care:

Forest Rouge Blackhaw will excel in partial shade or full sun. They require at least 4 hours of sunlight to produce the best fall color. Ensure the planting site is well-drained. This Viburnum is adaptable to a variety of soil types, from sandy loam to clay, as long as they drain well. You can also plant in a raised bed, or mounded heap of soil brought in to a level of 18 inches above your soil. Plant directly in that mound to improve drainage.

Give new plants a moderate amount of water on a regular basis. Once their roots are established in your soil, they are more resilient. However, if you have an extended dry period without rainfall, be sure to soak the ground all around the plant. Cover the root system with a thick layer of mulch to conserve moisture and extend the time between watering.

Prune to shape after the spring flowers but you’ll miss out on the fruit. Instead, you can periodically Renewal prune your shrub by cutting out the thickest, oldest stems from the base of the plant to rejuvenate it. Have care when doing this, as you want to ensure a balanced canopy will remain. Trim any suckers that emerge from the roots in early spring if you prefer or allow them to expand your planting over time.

In an average year that sees normal deer pressure, this variety is Deer resistant, but hungry deer may take a nibble, so we do always recommend using Deer Repellent Spray on all new plants and reapply according to the directions.

  • Grows in Full Sun or Partial Shade
  • Moderate Moisture Needs
  • Appreciates Enriched Well-Drained Soil & Mulched Beds
  • Deer Seem to Leave This Plant Alone
  • Pollinate With Other Viburnum prunifolium Varieties
  • Juglone and Deer Resistance
  • Prune After Flowering – Blooms on Old Wood

This spectacular native cultivar should be strongly considered to grace your landscape all year long.

Forest Rouge Blackhaw Viburnum (Viburnum prunifolium ‘McKRouge’) Details

Common name Forest Rouge Blackhaw Viburnum
Botanical name Viburnum prunifolium 'McKRouge'
Plant type Deciduous
Hardiness zone 4-8
Growth rate Medium
Harvest time Blue-Black Fruit in Fall
Height 8 - 10 ft.
Width 6 - 8 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun, Partial Shade
Moisture Medium
Soil condition Widely Adaptable
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Pruning time After Flowering
Flower color White