page contents
USA Real Estate Blog

Brian Minter: Amazing varieties of Dogwoods

0 11



Cornus florida ‘Rubra’ is the most popular of all the pinks.


PNG

Talk about showstoppers! Dogwoods are nicely coming into bloom now, and their massive displays are truly spectacular. There is, however, a great deal of confusion about the different varieties and the conditions they require to perform well.

In southwestern B.C., our beautiful native Cornus nuttallii (Pacific dogwood) has been suffering from anthracnose, a fungal disease that has caused significant decline in their numbers and in the overall quality of the trees. Dogwoods in their typical habitat experience long wet spells, particularly in spring, and they are often planted under other trees, resulting in poor air circulation. These situations cause the leaves to stay damp longer — a condition that favours this disease.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • reddit
  • Tumblr
  • Gmail


Cornus kousa blooms profusely.

PNG

Fortunately, there are nuttallii crosses that are more resilient to dogwood diseases and are well-adapted to home gardens. In the early 1950s, the late H.M. Eddie bred today’s “Eddie’s White Wonder” (zone 5), a cross between nuttallii and Cornus florida (our eastern dogwood). It has magnificent red fall foliage and grows about 10 metres high and 15 metres wide. “Eddie’s White Wonder” is Vancouver’s centennial tree.

Two more recent crosses with the Asian variety, Cornus kousa chinensis, have resulted in a couple of exceptional varieties: “Starlight” and “Venus”. Both are resistant to anthracnose and mildew. “Starlight” grows about 10 metres tall and five metres wide, producing masses of white blooms. “Venus” is a little smaller at six metres tall and five metres wide. It sports amazing white blooms that often measure 15 cm across. Both have stunning fall colour.

Native to Japan and Korea, Cornus kousa is another amazing white that blooms about one month later in late May and early June. Reaching up to six to seven metres tall and about the same width, it can be grown as a single or multi-stem plant that is useful as a screening tree. Its flowers are smaller at six to eight cm across, but let me assure you, it blooms profusely. Its flowers open pure white, but as they age, they take on a slightly pink tinge. In fall, kousas have a dramatic colour range of vibrant reds and oranges. Kousas are somewhat resistant to anthracnose.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • reddit
  • Tumblr
  • Gmail


Cornus florida ‘Rubra’ is the most popular of all the pinks.

PNG

Today, there are many white kousa varieties, like “China Girl” and “Milky Way”, but one of my absolute favourites is C. k. “Samaritan”. Unlike many other variegated foliage varieties, it has very clean white and green leaves, and its flowers tend to float elegantly above the leaves. In autumn, its attractive foliage is edged in pink, creating another showy season. It grows about six metres high and wide.

Most kousa dogwoods produce large red fruits in the fall that are both attractive and edible, but yes, they do need to be raked and cleaned up at the end of the season.

The whites are nice, but when the pink varieties come into bloom, they become everyone’s favourites. The most traditional and popular pink dogwood has always been the beautiful eastern florida variety, C. florida “Rubra”. It is hardy to zone 5 and grows about 4 to 5 metres high and wide. It usually blooms in late April or early May, making this variety an ideal Mother’s Day gift. It, too, has beautiful fall colours of orange, red and scarlet. Of all the pinks, this is my favourite.

Over the years, many crosses, particularly with the native florida species, have been developed that provide slight variations in colours. “Cherokee Chief” has slightly deeper rosy-red blooms, and “Cherokee Brave” has red bracts with white centres.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Google+
  • reddit
  • Tumblr
  • Gmail


‘Venus’ is a stunning dogwood with great fall colouring.

PNG

Just as the pink varieties of Cornus florida finish blooming, the pink kousas begin to flower in late May and June. Cornus k. “Satomi”, perhaps the most well-known and widely planted kousa, grows about 5 metres high and wide, and when it is in full bloom, it’s a true knockout. To enjoy its pink blossoms far longer, plant “Satomi” where it will get a bit of shade out of the hot afternoon June sun. Even though all kousas thrive in hot sunny areas, a cooler temperature will help preserve that wonderful pink colour far longer. “Satomi” has large red seed pods in late summer and vibrant fall foliage. Just a tease, but there is a new pink kousa, called “Scarlet Fire”, which will be out in a year or so. It’s one to watch for.

Dogwoods are a little particular about their location and soil. A sunny or partially sunny spot is best, and good air circulation to dry the foliage after rainfalls is important. They do not like shallow or wet, poorly drained areas. An open, porous soil is perfect. During extended periods of hot weather, dogwoods require thorough, deep waterings. It is also essential to protect the bark, especially on younger trees. So, make sure to leave an open area around them to keep those pesky lawn mowers from damaging the bark.

Apart from these requirements, florida and kousa dogwoods flourish in the Pacific Southwest, tolerating colder zone 5 areas. Both these somewhat smaller varieties offer splendid spring displays and stunning fall colour, making them ideal choices for today’s smaller modern landscapes.

You might also like

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!