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Planting multiple viburnums to look like one big shrub?

I am trying to create a screen around one corner of the patio to separate it from the rest of the garden.

Until now there has been a large, old escallonia that was doing the job. However, the escallonia died, which has left an empty gap in the middle of 2 other shrubs. I want to fill it with viburnum tinus (as per photo - these are Eve Price, so the smaller compact variety - label says height typically to 1.5m). 

The problem I am trying to solve is how to arrange the viburnum shrubs to give the impression that they are one big (wide) plant once they grow taller. I keep reading you should plant perennials in odd numbers as it looks more natural, but does that include shrubs like Eve Price as well?

If I plant the 4 in a square configuration will that look weird? Or would it be better to get a 5th plant and maybe plant them in a circular pattern instead (1 in the middle, 4 around the edge)?

I am deliberately planting close together because it’s a horrible gaping hole at the moment and as it is the corner we mostly sit in during the summer, I don’t want to wait years before a single shrub gets big enough to act as a proper screen…

Any advice much appreciated image



  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,626

    These will get quite big if given the space to do so.  Too much competition will stunt them.

    I suggest you just plant one in a well prepared hole.   While you wait for it t grow tall enough, plant some tall annuals or perennials to fill the gaps.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • HumbleBeeHumbleBee Posts: 105

    Thanks for the message Obelix. I did think of doing this but the problem is that I would need something to fill the gap all year round and I can't think of any perennials that would be evergreen and tall enough? image 
    I have Eve Price viburnums elsewhere in the garden and they seem to be quite slow-growing and compact bushes, so it would take quite a few years to fill a gap that size...
    I think I also have to work on my lack of patience haha ...image

  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 8,183

    This particular shrub is sold by some companies as a hedging plant so I guess you could plant them closely together.

    However, I agree with Obx that it would probably be a mistake to put 3 or 4 Vib Tinus in that spot.

    I've not grown Eve Price so I don't know how large or how fast it grows - but it sounds as though you know the plant well.

    If you know that a single Eve Price would eventually fill the space I would plant one and nurture it.

    If you know that 2 Eve Price would probably fill the space better and more completely you should go for that option. The Vib Tinuses (variety unknown) inherited in both my last 2 gardens responded really well to being cut hard back. If you do plant 2 and they become a bit big for the space they probably won't mind a hard prune each spring to keep them a bit smaller.

    In the meantime - if you need some additional screening now - you could consider putting in a couple of garden obelisks with clematis growing through them. This would give an instant sense of height and separation. The clematis won't be evergreen but you would have the structure of the obelisks year round. You may need to dig the clematis out in a few years time. The obelisks can be moved elsewhere in the garden when you no longer need them.

    Last edited: 31 March 2017 16:43:03

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • HumbleBeeHumbleBee Posts: 105

    Thanks for the feedback Topbird - I think I'm going to take your and Obelix's advice and go for the 'less is more' option! I know it seems like such a basic question but plant spacing / density etc is the area I've struggled with the most since taking up gardening - I wish there was a website dedicated to 'before and after' photos showing how plants look when first planted and then a couple of years down the line. Although labels will give you dimensions like '1.5m' they don't really give you an idea of the speed with which that happens, so am still learning via trial and error (sometimes expensive error!  image)
    Many thanks 

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