Spice Island™ Koreanspice Viburnum

Viburnum carlesii ‘J.N. Select A’

Description & Overview

A Johnson’s Nursery origination; J.N. Plant Selections introduction, Spice Island™ Koreanspice Viburnum was selected by Mike Yanny for its compact habit and late flowering. While other Viburnum carlesii will flower while their leaves are still emerging, Spice Island™ bears its large, tantalizingly fragrant blooms against its fully developed foliage. In fall, its dark green foliage turns a deep wine red adding interest to any garden location. A truly stunning and aromatic shrub!

Core Characteristics

Mature Height: 4-5 feet
Mature Spread: 5-6 feet
Growth Rate: Very Slow
Growth Form: Rounded Shrub, Compact
Light Requirements: Full Sun
Site Requirements: Rich, well-drained soil with average moisture
Flower: Large white cymes, extremely fragrant, self-infertile
Bloom Period: Late April to Mid-May
Foliage: Dark Green
Fall Color: Wine-Red
Fruit Notes: Insignificant, drupe, self-infertile

Downloadable Content

spice island koreanspice viburnum carlesii jn select a info flyer img

Suggested Uses:

Spice Island™ is more compact than other cultivars, it is easier to site and enjoy. Use it as a specimen, foundation plant, or border. For best results, site this plant where its deliciously aromatic flowers can be fully appreciated, either near a window or along a garden walk, or where prevailing winds will carry the fragrance to your home.

Wildlife Value:

The fragrant flowers attract birds, butterflies, and other pollinators in spring.

Maintenance Tips:

If you desire to shape your Koreanspice Viburnums, use Heading Cuts immediately after the shrub finishes flowering, usually in June. Do not shear or prune after July, as this will cut off the new flower buds for the next year. This is a slow growing shrub, so be conservative with your pruning choices.

A healthy mulch ring will keep the roots cool and the soil moist, reducing the chance of disease.

Salable 30-inch Balled & Burlapped (B&B) Spice Island™ after fall harvest. New buds waiting for next season blooms!

Salable 24-inch Balled & Burlapped (B&B) after fall harvest. New buds waiting for next season blooms!


Spice Island™ has no major disease or insect issues when healthy. If the shrub is stressed, it can be susceptible to bacterial, fungal, or insect damage. In especially wet seasons, the plant should be monitored for Viburnum Crown Borer damage. This can be treated with a systemic insecticide containing imidacloprid. The best preventative measure for the plant to make sure it is not stressed; it should be sited in well-drained soil, and in full sun.

Bacterial leaf spot and powdery mildew are also occasional problems but can be remedied by improving air flow and reducing moisture on the leaves.

Leaf Lore:

Spice Island™ Koreanspice Viburnum was selected in 2000 at Johnson’s Nursery from a block of open-pollinated Viburnum carlesii seedlings. It is a compact form of Viburnum carlesii which develops much more uniformly during the production process. This cultivar branches better than other Viburnum carlesii ‘Compacta’ cultivars in the trade, making for considerably fewer one-sided or poor structured plants. It matures at one half to two thirds the size of a typical Viburnum carlesii plant. Once the leaves have set in spring, showy red flower buds explode into large, fragrant clusters of petite white flowers, lasting for up to 3 weeks. Flowering occurs late April to mid-May.

Possibly the best feature of this shrub is its flowers. To say that they are fragrant is an understatement- their intoxicating aroma will make any passerby stop twice! To appreciate this plant in full bloom, stop by the nursery in spring to enjoy several of our established shrubs. And if you can’t get enough of the delicious, sweet and spicy aroma, take a stroll through our holding yard where you can appreciate dozens of the plant in full bloom!

Companion Plants:

It can be paired with low perennials that emerge after the flowering has finished. Use Montrose White Calamint, Palace Purple Coralbells, and Rozanne Geranium to complement bloom times and have interest from spring to fall.

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