Shindo Viburnum: A Magnet for Fireflies

I have been growing Shindo Viburnums (Viburnum awabuki ‘Shindo’) for over fifteen years, in both of my North Carolina gardens, and this is the first year in either location that I have actually had flowers in bloom. I am delighted. Now I can look forward to its reported red berries in the fall (that is, of course, if the hungry critters in my neighborhood will leave them alone).


Blossoms on Viburnum awabuki ‘Shindo’ in June 2014


Shindo Viburnum foliage

This plant was collected in 1985 from Shindo Island off Korea by the late J. C. Raulston of the NC State Arboretum and has become widely popular. My wife loves the leaves which she uses frequently as an alternative to magnolia foliage in her indoor flower arrangements. Branches will often root in water in a vase. In my previous garden two of them served as an effective and handsome fifteen foot hedge sheltered between our house and our neighbor.

Individual blossoms are tiny but form good sized clusters. As I examined the flowers more closely, I recognized a number of insects that were taking a healthy drink of the nectar in the blossoms. I noted a bumblebee and dozens of fireflies. My hope is that more fireflies will be drawn to the Shindo viburnum which will be reflected in a grand flashing display in our garden over summer evenings.


Fireflies on a Shindo viburnum blossom cluster

I must admit to a slight bit of apprehension seeing the first Japanese beetle of the season invading one of the clusters. It looked like it was trying to push the fireflies aside.

About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in a retirement community in Matthews, NC.
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4 Responses to Shindo Viburnum: A Magnet for Fireflies

  1. How exciting to have that first flush of bloom! And as you pointed out, the foliage is especially lovely. I’m very impressed with your fireflies. We have fewer now that I’ve cleared the English ivy from the woodland, which is a bit sad, but not to be helped.


    • johnvic8 says:

      Having a few less fireflies may be a reasonable price to pay for the elimination of the ivy, which can be so damaging to your woodland. By the by, I have noticed in prior years that fireflies seem to congregate on sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ blossoms much to the same extent. thanks for your comment.


  2. I’ve always liked fireflies. You see them around here starting mid-summer. Never heard of this Viburnum, but looks like a winner. Some plants really take their time before blooming, though.


  3. johnvic8 says:

    Shindo viburnum is zone 7-9, so it makes sense that it hasn’t been seen in your area.


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