Choosing the Perfect Dogwood Tree

Cornus-Kousa

Cornus-Kousa

By Erik S Hagiwara-Nagata

The dogwoods are one of the best ornamentals you can plant.  Many have four season interest, with the spring flower display being among one of the horticultural world’s showiest events.

These are small to medium sized trees.  There are deciduous and evergreen types, weeping and variegated varieties also.

The better dogwoods for our area (Sonoma County, CA) are Cornus kousa (and form C k. chinensis), C. capitata, C. controversa, C. angustata (formerly under C kousa), and hybrids.

Color of blooms varies from whites to pinks and yellows.

Deciduous species have great autumn color.  Many plants have very showy fruit, which is edible. The horizontal branching habit of some species is very fine and shows off the blooms well.  The architecture of the tree makes it a visual stand out in any landscape.

These are easy care plants.  Good, well drained soil will make them happy and provide years of enjoyment. Some of the variegated leaf varieties would appreciate a bit of shading from hot sun, and additional watering is appreciated by the plant.

Pruning is unnecessary, only a bit of guidance trimming may be all that is needed.

C. Angustata is like an evergreen
C. Kousa.  Horizontal branching. Showy blooms with pointed bracts. Empress of China is choice.

C. Capitata is another of the evergreen types. With yellow flowers, it makes a different and showy specimen in the garden, light reddish fruits. Mountain Moon is an exceptional form.  Very large and profuse blooming create a breath taking display for months.  It has large dark glossy green leaves.

C. Kousa comes in numerous varieties.  All are good.  It is just a question of how good that suits your particular likes.  Horizontal branching, profuse blooms on top of those branches (so many, you can barely see the leaves under them), showy reddish fruit, glorious fall colors, then delicate branchlets in tabulated tiers in winter create one of the best garden displays year round.
Here are just a few whites:
Big Apple
Blue Shadow
Constellation
Galilean
Milky Way
National
And some of the pinks:
Beni Fuji
Radiant Rose
Satomi/Miss Satomi
Are some of the weeping forms:
Pendula
Elizabeth Lustgarten
Weavers weeping
Are some variegated leaf trees:
Akatsuki
Gold Star
Lemon Ripple
Samaritan
Summer Gold
Sunshine
Wolf Eyes
Kristen Lipkas Weeping Variegated

C. controversa is the giant dogwood. Wide horizontal branching on a tree 40’+. Reddish bark is showy for many years.  Tiered growth displays the flat flier clusters well(these are small flowers in wide clusters).  Dark berries can follow if pollination occurs.  Nice fall colors.  Give this tree space (it is VERY worth it).  A tree to make your head turn with the tiered architecture. The variegated forms are all showy(think wedding cake tiers).  But can be somewhat challenging to get to size.
Hybrids:
Aurora
Celestial
Ruth Ellen
Stellar Pink
Starlite
Venus i- s a star among dogwoods.  Flamboyant flowering is over the top with very large sized blooms and it often repeats in summer/fall.

For more information, please contact:
Erik S Hagiwara-Nagata
Garden Delights Nursery
2115 Adobe Road,Petaluma

707.773.1133 nursery
707.775.5008 cell
Hanascape@aol.com

Also on Facebook. GardenDelightsNursery

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