Colourful-barked dogwoods are typically grown for winter colour, when their colourful, leafless stems shine like beacons in the bare winter garden. Cornus alba hails from Siberia, north China and Korea, and is too vigorous for most gardens, but cultivars are much less vigorous. If left unpruned, it will grow into a medium-sized bushy shrub, but it is easy to restrict growth with regular pruning.
Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' has deep red stems, greyish green, white-margined leaves, small, creamy-white flowers and dark red berries. For the best show of red stems in autumn, cut them back hard each March. It's tolerant of a wide range of soil types, and produces the brightest winter bark when planted in full sun. It looks fantastic when planted with evergreen shrubs and among spring flowers. For the best show of red stems in autumn, cut them back hard each March.
Plant type: Deciduous shrub
Flower colour: White
Foliage colour: Golden
Feature: Autumn colour, Colourful bark, Flowers, Dramatic foliage
Sun exposure: Full sun, Partial shade
Soil: Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Chalky/alkaline
Skill level: Beginner
Time to take cuttings: November to February
Flowering period: May to June
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