Cornus Kousa and Cornus Florida – these Flowering Dogwoods take the ornamental tree to new heights!

THE BACKGROUND
Belonging to the Cornus genus, Cornus Kousa and Cornus Florida (a genus commonly known as flowering dogwoods) have long been used as ornamental trees for gardens and landscapes. Compact and upright in shape, Cornus ornamental trees generally don’t get overly big. They tend to flower profusely and these flowers last for a quite a long time (as they are in fact bracts). Although there are 3 families of Cornus (flowering dogwood), Cornus Kousa (Chinese Flowering Dogwood) and Cornus Florida (American Flowering Dogwood) are best suited to our UK climate.

Closely related, Cornus Kousa originates from China while Cornus Florida originates from the east coast of North America. Cornus Kousa differs from the Cornus Florida in that it tends to have a more erect growing habit and flowers a bit later than Cornus Florida (by circa 1 month) and its flower bracts tend to be pointy as opposed to round. It is also considered to be somewhat hardier. Cornus Kousa often has a coloured and / or patterned bark, adding extra interest through the winter months.

Flowering Dogwood trees - Cornus Florida Rainbow and Cornus Kousa Miss Satomi
Flowering Dogwood trees – Cornus Florida Rainbow and Cornus Kousa Miss Satomi

THE FLORAL DISPLAY
Flowering Dogwood trees are showy no doubt about it and the blooms are very long lasting. The actual flowers tend to be clusters of tiny blooms, usually green or white. The impressive floral ‘show’ is created by the coloured bracts (essentially protective extra leaves for the flowers). The flower bracts tend to be large, petal-like and are usually in various shades of white or pink, sometimes even red. They are always produced in abundance and remain in good condition for several weeks (showy flowers rarely last that long) and some even change from white to pink as they age.

Cornus Florida Cherokee Chief
Cornus Florida Cherokee Chief – commands attention

THE FRUIT
Most flowering dogwoods produce a fruit after flowering which is usually edible and about the size of a strawberry. On some cultivars, the fruit is sweet and delicious. Should you decide not to harvest the fruit and leave them on trees, the birds will thank you for it.

THE FOLIAGE
Most flowering dogwoods have rich green foliage throughout the summer months. The foliage really comes into its own in the autumn, when vibrant hues of mostly reds and purples take over as the leaves change colour dramatically.

THE TREE SIZE
As ornamental trees, Cornus Kousa and Cornus Florida won’t get larger than 10 metres tall as an absolute maximum and most won’t be larger than 6 or 7 metres. Some varieties such as Cornus Florida Cloud Nine won’t get taller than 3 metres. As such, flowering dogwood trees are very suitable for smaller gardens. If required, both Cornus Kousa and Cornus Florida respond well to pruning.

VARIETIES IN STOCK
Here at Paramount Plants, we now have circa 14 varieties of flowering dogwood in stock. You can view the full Cornus collection here.  We have a range of sizes from younger plants at 1.25 metres tall (for example Cornus Kousa China Girl) to mature trees, for example this single stemmed Cornus Kousa Szechuan Strawberry, available as a mature 5 metre tall tree for instant impact.

Cornus Florida Cultivars (American Flowering Dogwoods)
Cornus Florida typically bloom just as the foliage begins to appear. Cultivars of note include Cornus Florida Cherokee Chief (profusion of ruby red blooms), Cornus Florida White Cloud (large white flowers), Cornus Florida Clear Moon (a rare cultivar with white trumpet shaped bracts), the compact little Cornus Florida Cloud Nine (early flowering with abundant white blooms), Cornus Florida F Rubra (pink flowering), the compact-sized Cornus Florida Rainbow (profusion of white flowers / bracts) and Cornus Florida Sunset (showy pink bracts).

Cornus Florida White Cloud - an American Flowering Dogwood
Cornus Florida White Cloud – an American Flowering Dogwood

Cornus Kousa Cultivars (Chinese Flowering Dogwoods)
Chinese flowering dogwood, Cornus Kousa, is a later bloomer than Cornus Florida, coming into its own usually in June. Again we have lots for you to choose from  – for example Cornus Kousa China Girl (profuse large white bracts in June), Cornus Kousa Milky Way (pure white bracts, followed by edible fruit), Cornus Kousa Miss Satomi (masses of pink bracts in June), Cornus Kousa Schmetterling (white bracts fading to pink), Cornus Kousa Szechuan Strawberry (profuse creamy white bracts and strawberry-like fruits).

Cornus Kousa China Girl, Schmetterling and Milky Way
The Whites – Cornus Kousa China Girl, Schmetterling and Milky Way

Cornus Variegated
Cornus variegated varieties include Cornus Kousa Samaritan and Cornus Controversa Variegate (the Wedding Cake Tree).

Our plants and trees are available to buy online. We deliver UK wide. Pay us at visit at www.paramountplants.co.uk

Mature Ornamental Trees - Cornus Controversa Variegate (Wedding Cake Tree)
Mature Ornamental Trees – Cornus Controversa Variegate (Wedding Cake Tree)