The Cornus or Dogwood genus of trees and shrubs has family members from both North America and Asia. The Dogwood most commonly grown in NZ hails from North America and is known as Cornus florida. In this case "florida" actually means flowering rather than place of origin. The Americans love this tree so much it is the State tree for both Virginia and Missouri. Cornus kousa which hails from Japan is becoming more popular in NZ and Cornus kousa Moonlight is a firm favourite with the team here at Wairere.
All Dogwoods are deciduous and frost hardy with the exception of Cornus capitata which is semi evergreen and only tolerates light frost.
To get the best from Dogwoods you really must be able to give them the conditions they thrive on. They require a sunny spot with no more than the lightest shade plus deep nourishing soil that is not too wet in winter. Dogwoods love a cold winter and hot dry summer. For those who have warm winters (Waikato North) then try Cornus Eddies White Wonder which has been bred to cope with warmer temperatures. If you do not provide Cornus with the correct conditions they can become susceptible to anthracnose disease which is a fungus disease typified by brown to tan irregular spots and blotches on the leaves. This can be treated with fungicide but prevention with the correct cultural requirements is really the answer.
Dogwoods flower in spring, the "flower" is made up of four bracts that surround a small central dome. With some varieties showy "strawberry" like fruits follow the flowers. All Dogwoods should have excellent autumn colour and this is probably their most highly valued feature. Look for variegated varieties which have fabulous foliage interest throughout spring, summer and autumn.
*In case you are curious the name Dogwood is said to have come from the fact that the bark from the tree was used to make up a solution for bathing mangy dogs! There is also the legend that the wood from the Dogwood was used to make the cross Jesus was crucified on and ever since that time the tree has had 4 floral bracts to represent the cross with a red centre to represent the blood of Christ. The tree will also never grow large enough to provide timber for another cross.
Cornus or Dogwood, fact or fiction, no matter which, is always a worthy choice for a special specimen tree or group planting.
Pagoda Dogwood. This attractive tree has a tiered arrangement of branches decorated with layers of fresh green leaves. In late spring small sprays of creamy white flowers appear and are followed by black berries. Plant in a sunny spot in rich well drained soil. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: Cream Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 5m x 4m
Pagoda Dogwood. This attractive tree has a tiered arrangement of branches decorated with variegated green leaves with white margins. In summer small sprays of creamy white flowers appear and are followed by black berries. Plant in a sunny spot in rich well drained soil. Deciduous.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 4m x 3m
Dogwood. In spring the bare branches are decorated by pretty pink bracts that surround the tiny flower which in itself is insignificant. Fresh green summer foliage has attractive autumn tones prior to leaf fall. Plant in the sun in nice rich acid soil for best results. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 3m x 2.5m
The Asian Dogwood is often described as a large shrub because of its multi-stemmed habit rather than having a single trunk. Dark green foliage in spring-summer with good autumn tones before fall. The flower bracts are large, star shaped and a deep pink. Very showy in late spring. Est.10yr.growth.
Cornus prefer a nice deep rich acid soil so choose your planting spot well.
Colour: Pink Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 5m x 3m
This large multi-stemmed shrub has the most beautiful variegated foliage in various shades of green and creamy white. The leaves are off-set by the purple shading of the twigs. Large showy white flower bracts in late spring. Special. Likes nice rich acid soil. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 5m x 3m
An American hybrid valued for the ruby red flower bracts that appear in spring. The new spring foliage is an attractive bronze-red before turning the usual green. Striking autumn colour adds to the overall value of this specimen tree. Plant in a sunny spot in nice rich soil. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: Red / Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 4m x 3m
This is a lovely form of the ever popular 'Dogwood' Creamy white flower bracts are produced in abundance over spring. The green summer leaves turn to shades of orange, apricot and red prior to leaf fall. Worthy of a place in any garden. Prefers nice rich acid soil. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: Cream Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 4m x 3m
Showy red flower bracts appear in spring followed by red strawberry fruits that birds love. The variegated green foliage is broadly outlined with lemon yellow, with hints of bronze and pink in spring. Striking autumn colour. Plant in a sunny position. Deciduous.
Colour: Red Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 3m x 2.5m
A very pretty oriental Cornus that has showy white flower bracts which appear on the horizontal layered branches in spring-summer. The flowers are followed by small red fruits. Very pretty in full bloom. Green summer foliage colours well prior to leaf fall. Deciduous. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 5m x 3m
You'll be on 'Cloud 9' when you see the profusion of pure white large flower bracts that appear in spring on this lovely tree. More tolerant of heat than many other Cornus and all together quite strong and vigorous. The dark green summer foliage colours well prior to leaf fall. Est.10yr.growth.
Colour: White Habit: Upright Est. Hgt. 7/10 yrs: 3m x 2.5m