Position: full sun or partial shade
Soil: fertile, well-drained soil
Flowering period: May to June
Hardiness: fully hardy
Cornus alba, commonly known as red-barked dogwood, is highly valued for its vivid red winter stems colour. In summer it bears creamy-white flowers, followed by white or blue berries. Brightly, red coloured stems become visible when the shrub loses its leaves.
There are many varieties to choose from. Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ has green, yellowish leaves that redden in autumn. There are also red-barked dogwoods with variegated leaves. Cornus alba ‘Sibirica Variegata’ produces green leaves with a white edge, while Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ offers striking grey-green leaves with white margins. If you prefer golden-yellow leaf colour choose Cornus alba ‘Aurea’
Cornus alba ‘Sibirica Variegata’ Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’
Pruning Cornus alba (dogwoods). It needs to be cut back in March to stimulate new, colourful stems. Cut all the stems back to 5-10cm above the ground.
Apply a 5-7cm layer of compost around the base of the plant in March.
The mid-green variegated blades of Carex morrowii Ice Dance’ and the striking grass-like leaves of Ophiopogon pl. ‘Nigrescens’ contrast well to the red stems. Winter-flowering Helleborus make also a good addition.