The Sargent viburnum is a close relative of the native Finnish species Guelder rose, also called European cranberrybush (V. opulus), and is sometimes regarded as its subspecies. The Sargent viburnum is an eastern species whose range stretches from the islands of Japan to Sakhalin, Korea, eastern parts of China, and Russia.
It differs from the Guelder rose in shape of leaf, darker stem, and flowers. The sterile flowers of the outer ring can be up to 3 cms in diameter. Its requirements regarding growing sites are very like those of the Guelder rose and in the wild it favours fertile soils and moist shady forests. Flowering in garden conditions requires soil that remains moist even in summer, and plenty of sun.