There’s a new man in my life. No, it’s not a garden gnome; it’s Mini Man dwarf Manchurian viburnum.
He’s the cutest thing on a wood trunk. Right now, he’s loaded with bright red berries that are beginning to turn blue-black. His small, velvety, medium-green leaves may soon turn maroon and hang on until late autumn. Then next spring, he’ll explode with clusters of creamy white blossoms that will persist for several weeks.
He’s currently a foot high and wide, but may reach 4-6 feet high and wide at maturity.
Although some descriptions indicate that Mini Man will grow in full sun or part shade, I would definitely lean toward part shade in Colorado. His leaves are a little sunburned right now, but by spring the dogwoods next to him will grow higher and provide more shade.
Homeboy Scott Skogerbee, chief propagator of Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery, discovered this darling by accident in 1999 while visiting a nursery in Montana. He noticed a single compact shrub nestled in a 50-foot hedgerow of taller Manchurian viburnums (V. burejaecticum). The little guy was identical to his taller brethren except for size.
In 2016, Plant Select announced Mini Man as one of its winners. Plant Select is a nonprofit consortium of Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens and professional horticulturists. The purpose of this collaboration is to test and select plants that will flourish in the high plains and intermountain regions. Each year, Plant Select announces a small number of winning varieties from around the world.
For years I’ve listened to gardeners rave about their viburnums. I’ve never grown one, though, because they usually morph into behemoths that would devour my yard. The 15-by-12-foot Manchurian viburnum is a prime example. So I’m delighted that Mini Man has come along.
If you’ve never tried a viburnum, you might dedicate a spot for Mini Man in your own garden.