My Viburnum Looks Dead – Why & What To Do

Viburnums are well known for their durability, easygoing nature, red berries, and whimsical small flowers. The evergreen nature of many of them only adds to their overall appeal. After all, what’s better than a plant that remains green and fresh all year round?! Although, this isn’t always the case. 

The truth is, viburnum plants are only so resilient. As with most plants, they’re not immune to catching diseases, some of which can be fatal. Thus, if your viburnum seems to be in ill health, you can rest assured that there’s an explanation for it. 

So why does my viburnum look dead? Your viburnum may look dead due to a pest invasion, a fungal disease, or even as a result of the weather conditions it has been subject to. 

Fortunately, you’ll often find that there’s a way to revive viburnums too. 

I’ve explored both the causes of ill health and how to revive them in much more detail below. 

So, read on to learn more!

Why Is My Viburnum Dying?

Algal Leaf Spot

If your viburnum once beautifully green leaves have been overtaken with red-toned spots, you most likely have a case of algal leaf spot disease on your hands.

The infection is a fungal one that makes itself known through the discoloration and distortion of the plant’s leaves.

Nevertheless, whilst it may appear as though your viburnum is going through a tough time, the truth is the symptoms are usually only cosmetic and are absolutely treatable. Phew! 

Botryosphaeria Canker

On the other end of the fungal disease, spectrum lies botryosphaeria canker.

This disease is much more serious and poses a significant threat if it manages to infiltrate the inside of the viburnum by penetrating any existing wounds that it may have.

Once it’s inside, it effectively inhibits the much-needed movement of nutrients around the plant.

Without the distribution of sufficient energy and timely intervention, the consequences for your viburnum are likely to be fatal.

Initially, you’ll spot its leaves wilt and drop off, but soon enough, the entire plant may collapse. 

Pest Invasions

When it comes to pest control, viburnum beetles are one of the main culprits to look out for.

Come Spring and Summer time, they’re often out in full swing devouring the plant’s flowers.

Hence, your viburnum may appear as though it’s dying, but really, it’s more than capable of reblooming healthy flowers upon a thorough termination of the pests. 

Additionally, it’s not uncommon for viburnums to come under attack by aphids, a notoriously unpopular garden pest.

Aphids suck the nutritious sap out of the viburnum, without which the plant quickly becomes devoid of energy and ultimately may die.

Whilst a couple of aphids aren’t much to worry about, their presence in large numbers most certainly is.

Hence, their speedy reproduction rates mean that you’ll want to eliminate them as soon as you spot them. 

Armillaria Root Rot

Also known as mushroom root rot, armillaria root rot is soil-borne and poses a considerable threat to your viburnum, albeit below the surface.

It may be at work attacking the plant’s roots for several years before any superficial symptoms arise and draw your attention to it.

When they do finally arise, you can expect said symptoms to take the form of wilted and discolored foliage and flowers. 

Extreme Weather Conditions

Both weather conditions that are too cold and too dry can cause considerable damage to your viburnum plant.

Whilst freezing temperatures threaten to burn the leaves and turn them brown, extreme heat, particularly during a drought period, can cause your viburnum to entirely dry out, roots and all.

Without enhanced watering to combat the conditions, fatalities may occur.

This is particularly true if your viburnum is still young and not so well-established. 

How Do You Revive Viburnums?

Alongside their plethora of positive attributes, viburnum plants are renowned for their resilience.

Hence, whilst there are several factors that can cause them to deteriorate, it’s possible for them to bounce back.

Read on to find out what you can do to give them a helping hand. 


There are several pesticide options that are worth looking into.

First and foremost, you could make your own pesticide solution from the comfort of your very own home.

For such solutions, the base ingredient tends to be either vinegar or baking soda.

Alternatively, you could purchase a ready-made pesticide online or from most garden stores. This is a great one to get off Amazon.

For whichever of the two you choose, if any, both patience and consistent application are imperative.

Depending on the severity of the invasion, it could take a matter of several weeks to resolve entirely. 

Nevertheless, it could be that you don’t need a topical solution at all.


For instance, if you’ve stumbled upon an aphid infestation, all you really need is your hosepipe.

By hosing down your plant thoroughly with a steady and powerful water stream, you’ll effectively knock the aphids off the plant.

All at no cost to your viburnum or the environment!  

Using Scent Deterrents

Scent deterrents are another proven removal method.

By placing scents that the pests dislike around the plant, you’ll repel them from the area altogether.

To ensure a permanent removal, be sure to replenish the scents every couple of days for a prolonged duration. 

Fungicide Application

To combat fungal diseases such as root rot and leaf spot, you’ll need a fungicide to hand.

Again, you could make your own, and there are several perfectly pragmatic recipes to be found online.

Or, if ready-made varieties are more your thing, simply head to your local garden store and pick one up straight off the shelf. Or, again, you could get one online. This is a great one on Amazon.

You could opt for a traditional fungicide solution, or for a fully eco-friendly approach, a bottle of neem oil should do the trick! 

Weather Protection

If your viburnum is shallow-rooted, be sure to water it as often as it needs during times of dry, hot weather.

Ordinarily, the suggested watering frequency is twice a week, but harsher elements usually warrant an increase. 

Similarly, if the weather is wet for a prolonged period, ensure that its soil is well-draining to prevent it from becoming waterlogged and incredibly susceptible to fungal diseases.

Finally, to combat considerably cold conditions, you can insulate your viburnum in anything from burlap to straw and even towels! 

Other Suggestions To Keep Your Viburnum Healthy

Location Check

One of the prime ways to keep your viburnum healthy is to initially plant it in the very conditions that are optimal for its growth.

They generally thrive well in locations that get full sun and require slight shade during the afternoon when the heat is often at its most intense. 


Whilst they don’t require it, applying fertiliser once per annum can give your viburnum a healthy replenishment.

The best time for it is during the Spring – the extra nutrients will give it a growth and green boost just in time for its flowering and fruiting season. 


By pruning your viburnum once a year, you’ll keep it looking tidy and promote healthy air circulation and new growth.