Brown Viburnum Leaves: Why Leaves Turn Brown On Viburnum

By: Teo Spengler

Many gardeners decide to plant viburnum because it is usually pest free. However, sometimes the plant does have disease problems that cause brown viburnum leaves. Why do viburnum leaves turn brown? Read on for information about the different reasons you might see brown leaves on viburnum plants.

Viburnum Leaves Turning Brown

So why do viburnum leaves turn brown? In most cases, fungus is to blame. Below are the most common situations for browning in these plants:

Fungal spot or Anthracnose

Take a close look at your browning viburnum leaves. If they have irregular brown spots that are sunken and dry, they may have a fungal spot disease. The spots begin small but merge together and may appear red or gray.

Among the most common causes for viburnum leaves turning brown or black are leaf spot diseases. Don’t panic. Leaf spot fungal diseases, as well as the fungal disease anthracnose, usually do not do lasting harm to your plants.

Keeping leaves relatively dry is the key to preventing leaf spot diseases where leaves turn brown on viburnum. Do not use overhead irrigation and leave sufficient space between your plants for air to pass through. Rake up and burn the brown viburnum leaves that have fallen.

If the brown leaves on viburnum are caused by leaf spot disease or anthracnose, you can treat the plants with fungicides available in commerce. For example, treat anthracnose by spraying the leaves with a copper fungicide.

Powdery or Downy Mildew

Mildew diseases can also be a reason leaves turn brown on viburnum species. Both powdery mildew and downy mildew can result in brown viburnum leaves as the foliage dies. You’ll see mildew diseases more often during times of humidity. Plants sited in shade suffer most from them.

The tops of viburnum leaves infected by powdery mildew are covered with a powdery fungal growth. This usually happens in summer. Downy mildew causes light green spots mostly on the lower leaves. Leaves that die from these infections turn brown.

If your leaves turn brown on viburnum because of mildew diseases, take steps to reduce water on them by using the same tips as for leaf spot diseases. You can also control mildew by spraying fungicides containing horticultural oil.


If the spots on your viburnum leaves are more rust-colored than brown, the plants may have a rust infection. This is also caused by various fungi. Viburnum leaves infected by rust will wither and die. This is a contagious disease, so you’ll want to destroy diseased plants in the spring before new growth starts.

Other reasons for leaf browning

Dog urine also causes viburnum leaves to brown. If you have a male dog that runs in your garden, this may explain the brown viburnum leaves.

This article was last updated on

I would like to plant some viburnums for a privacy screen. Do the berries reseed under the bush? The hedge I have now does and I'm trying to get away from that.

Some species of viburnum will reseed, but this is generally not a big issue with these shrubs.

Most Popular Topics

  • Plant Recommendations
  • Hibiscus Plants
  • Roses
  • Tomato Plants
  • Fig Tree
  • Gardenia Plants
  • Crape Myrtle Trees
  • Peach Trees
  • Lemon Trees
  • Hydrangea Plants
  • Open2
  • Sago Palm Trees
  • Insect Pest Control
  • Wisteria Vines
  • Holly Bushes
  • Calla Lily Plants
  • Yucca Plants
  • Zucchini Plants
  • Lilac Bushes
  • Lawn Problems

Viburnum turning black

Hi all. IÂve been reading the forum for awhile (and have learned more here than in any book or at any garden center thank you!) but am new to posting. IÂll try to be brief.

A couple of weeks ago I planted one viburnum nudum species and one Winterthur about 8 ft apart. The Winterthur was terribly pot bound but otherwise appeared robust. I did the best I could with the roots, planted it, mulched them both lightly with compost, and hoped for the best.

Since then weÂve had rain every 2-3 days, some of it very heavy (twice weÂve had 2" or so). Our soil is loamy sand (more sand than loam) so I havenÂt been very concerned about drainage  until now. The Winterthur has several leaves that are turning black from the tip to about halfway down the leaf. What could this be? The species is doing splendidly and has new growth.

IÂll be grateful for any advice. Thanks!

I'm surprised there's been no response to your question, eshore21814. Everyone must be out gardening - imagine that. Has the situation with your Viburnum nudum changed at all within the last week?

This viburnum species is quite at home in wet soils, being native to swampy areas and along bodies of water. Too wet isn't usually a problem. I suspect the darkening of a few leaves (recently after transplantation and some root disturbance) is normal. Couple that with constantly wet leaves, and you may have a case of a temporary pathogen expressed as leaf deterioration that should clear up as the plant roots into its new home. If this is a decent sized plant (you didn't say was it a 5G or so?), you could clip off the discolored leaves and discard them.

Have you noticed the leaves "flagging" (drooping) at all? Sometimes a very potbound plant can have trouble taking up moisture once planted, since watering may not be quite as focused on the restricted space that roots really occupy (the former potted zone). A dribble or point source of watering at the base of the plant is actually much better than overall rainfall in keeping the root system moist until it breaks out into the surrounding soil with dissimilar texture.

Next tme (and there always is one in gardening), taking a potbound plant during dormancy and bare-rooting it before planting can be much more successful, and is certainly educationally enlightening.

Âfurther disentangle encircling roots

Âlearn about habits of root systems in plants

Âspread out the disentangled root system in an appropriately sized planting area

Âproperly prepare the soil for replanting a bare root plant, so that the soil settles in around the root system

Âmakes one a much better shopper when selecting plants

Âwhich then one can express to the proprietors/vendors so that they alter their strategies in offering such a product

All these things (as well as additional things too numerous to mention) will aid any gardener in becoming more confident in selecting and handling plants, bare root or not. By being good at handling bare root plants, though, a new arena of efficiency and cost effectiveness is now your playground. Plants are much less expensive and much LIGHTER to handle (shipping-wise, and in your garden), making your $ and efforts go farther.

This also reduces opportunities for unnecessary or inadvertant transport of insects, diseases, weeds, and other pathogens that may come with a soil medium. Not a bad plan of action.

Let us know the progress of your viburnums.

I am in Wisconsin, Zone 4. Last fall in October I moved several viburnum shrubs. One of them is not leafing out, yet the stems after cutting are green, so the shrub is not dead. There is no growth coming up from the bottom of the shrub. Is this a lost cause? I did cut it way back this week.

Since the stems still show signs of green, it is still alive and should begin leafing out given some more time.


Should I cut the brown leaves off my Peace Lily?

If the browning greatly spreads in a large portion or whole part of the leaf, cut it off. Follow the stem of the said leaf and snip it. Do it cautiously to avoid affecting the healthy stems.

On the other hand, do not do this if the tip of the leaf is the only brown area. Do an angled cut, replicating the leaves’ natural shape, below the affected part instead. Browning will stop in this part.

Why is my Peace Lily turning yellow and brown?

The primary answer to that question relates to water. The improper amount and build-up of chemicals from the water are culprits in this issue. Insufficient amounts of light, pest infestation, and disease can also lead to leaf discoloration.

What causes brown spots on the Peace Lily leaves?

There are a lot of possible reasons behind the brown spots in Peace Lily. But usually, the brown spots are sunburn from long sun exposure. Pest infestation and plant diseases can also result in these brown streaks.

Bacterial Blight

Various strains of Pseudomonas syringae cause this disease. The symptoms include small black spots or large brown spots on leaves, blackened leaf veins and dead blossoms and stem tips. Some plants may develop stem lesions or cankers that ooze liquid. Blight bacteria prefer wet conditions, including rainy springtime weather. Proper spacing and regular pruning can help prevent bacterial blight.

  • Downy mildew appears both as light green lesions or blotches on the upper leaf surfaces and a white powder on the lower leaf surfaces, according to the Ohio State Extension service.
  • Since the mildew spores can survive through the winter, gardeners should clean up any fallen leaves or plant debris regularly.

To keep the disease from spreading, cover small plants with plastic, the University of California’s Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) advises. Sprays are not effective against the disease, according to IPM.

Should you cut brown leaves off the plant?

The need to remove brown leaves from your Pothos plant depends on how severe the problem is. If more than half the leaves are badly affected, then the best remedy would be to cut off the affected leaves to give the remaining healthy leaves an improved chance at survival.

However, if the problem isn’t that extensive and only a few leaves are affected, removing those leaves won’t be necessary. Instead you might want to diagnose and treat the underlying causes as per the above-discussed sections.


  • David J. Norman and G. Shad Ali, University of Florida, IFAS Extension: Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) Diseases: Identification and Control in Commercial Greenhouse Production
  • University of Florida, IFAS: Potho Production Guide

My name is Alex K. Worley. I am a web geek who loves gardening and connecting with nature. I maintain a small backyard organic garden from which I source most of my green food. I hope to help you learn something new about gardening.

Watch the video: Viburnum Leaf Beetle

Previous Article

Clean Your House Naturally: Learn About Natural Home Sanitizers

Next Article