How to Propagate Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago)

How to Propagate Nannyberry Viburnum Lentago zone 2 shrub

This guide is meant to teach you how to propagate Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago) and hopefully make it easier for you to sell them at your own nursery.

Hardiness Zone: 2-8

Soil Type: Well-drained loam, clay, sand

Water: Average

Exposure: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago) is a berry-producing zone 2 perennial shrub native to eastern North America. It grows in the prairies as well as in groves and river valleys around the great lakes.

Nannyberry leaves are oval to elliptical-shaped, with serrulate margins, and grow on the stems in opposite arrangements.

Mid spring, the flat white flower clusters emerge and attract all sorts of beneficial insects like bees. Nannyberry flowering season is generally from May to June.

In most regions, nannyberry fruit is only ripe to pick by late fall. 

Planting nannyberry bushes on your property can attract all sorts of animals, from insects like butterflies, to songbirds, and even large boreal forest mammals like deer.

Best Ways to Propagate Nannyberry

Method: Cuttings

A great method to propagate nannyberry is by taking cuttings. But timing is very important when propagating with cuttings, you want to consider the time of the day and the month.

  • Softwood cuttings: 4-6 inches each (10-15cm). Propagate early summer, take cuttings in the early morning after a rain. Remove the leaves from the lower 1/3 of the cutting, dip in rooting hormone, and plant in a frame* with half/half perlite/horticultural sand mix. Roots in roughly 4 weeks.
  • Half-ripe wood cuttings: 8-10 inches each (20-25cm). Propagate in July/August with a heel**. Remove all leaves, dip in water then rooting hormone, and plant in the same mix as softwood cuttings. You can plant in a propagation bed under full sun, kept humid by automatic sprayers. Takes longer to root, lower success rate than softwood.

* A frame is a box with a screen for shade and humidity retention

** A heel is a cutting with the edge of original stem still on, like shown in the picture below

Method: Sowing

Nannyberry can be grown from seed in 3 easy steps:

  1. Scarification: Soak your nannyberry seeds in water for 24 hours.
  2. Stratification: Indoors, warm stratify for 180 days, then cold stratify for 90 days. Outdoors, plant in late summer for next spring growth.
  3. Germination: Sow the seeds 1/4 inch deep, tamp the soil then cover with mulch.

Online, you can buy nannyberry seeds at sheffields.

How to Ready Nannyberry for Sale

Nannyberry cuttings that you propagate this year will root and grow all summer long, but might they won’t be ready for individual potting until the next spring.

Make sure to cover your propagation bed during winter with tunnels to prevent frost damage.

Early summer the next year, they will have a strong enough root system to pot individually.

At this point, pot them up in well-drained, nutrient-rich loam, and place them full sun in your nursery.

Prune the main stems 2-3 times during the summer to allow the plants to grow into beautiful bush shapes.


For more detailed information on viburnum propagation, check out our parent article:

How to Propagate Viburnum