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Variegated Red Twig Dogwood

Variegated Red Twig Dogwood is a beautiful shrub with medium sized deciduous leaves. The leaves are a light gray green with cream edging that look great next to darker foliage.

The dark stems turn bright red in winter, offering a wonderful contrast to evergreens, other bare trees and snow.

This plant naturalizes well. It is a moderately paced grower. This plant is native to China and Siberia. Historically, the narrow stems were used as skewers.

Interestingly, the first tennis rackets were made of Dogwood bark. The berries are toxic for people, but they attract a lot of wild birds.

Using the Variegated Red Twig Dogwood in the Landscape

Use Variegated Red Twig Dogwood as a border plant or in a Zen or woodland garden. Use it as a screen or mass planting. It also makes a beautiful specimen plant. Surround it with perennials to really show it off.

It looks lovely nestled in with evergreens or shrubs with contrasting colors or sizes. They look lovely reflected in a pond or as part of a natural wooded area. They attract wildlife and provide year round interest in the garden.

The attractive red bark makes a real statement in the winter. The flowers are fragrant and enjoyable in summer.

Plant Variegated Red Twig Dogwood with Japanese holly, Golden Privet, Golden Juniper or Arborvitae for a nice foliage contrast. It also looks nice next to peonies, camellias and houttuynia.

Planting, Pruning and Caring

Plant Variegated Red Twig Dogwood in full sun to partial shade. Water it regularly.

Prune as needed in the spring to bring out new growth. If you coppice the plant every three years, you get all new red stems. If you prune annually do not remove more than one third of the older growth.

It likes clay soils, but will adapt. Moist, soggy soils work fine.

This plant can be propagated with hardwood cuttings in the beginning of the year. Overall this is a very low maintenance plant. Be sure to give it enough space to really reach its potential.

  • Scientific Name: Cornus alba 'Elegantissima'

  • Best Soil: Clay

  • Light: Full sun to partial shade

  • Growth Rate: Moderate

  • Foilage: Deciduous; gray green foliage with cream edges

  • Fall Color: Fall leaf colors consist of apricot, gold and rosey-red. Stems turn bright red

  • Bloom: Small white flowers in flat clusters; fragrant; not overly showy

  • Mature Size and Shape: Grows to 6 to 8 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide in an erect habit

  • Watering:Water regularly; more when heat is extreme

  • Hardiness Zone: 2 - 8

  • Pruning: As needed in spring to promote new growth

  • Plant Spacing: Plant 3 to 4 feet apart for hedges or mass plantings

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