Cornus alternifolia Argentea or Silver Pagoda Dogwood is native to the forests of eastern North America, where it thrives along the edges of wooded areas and swamps. In its natural habitat, Dogwood is one of the first wild trees to bloom in early May, with its white flowers lighting up the woodlands with their delicate beauty. If you have a lightly shaded area, this small tree will provide you with early spring beauty for many years to come.
While silver pagoda dogwood has some of the same characteristics as the variegated cornus, its spring flowering habit and taller, more elegant shape can fill a different need in your garden plan.
This particular cultivar, Cornus alternifolia Argentea, was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit in 1993 for its suitability for landscaping in United Kingdom gardens. It is fully hardy. Growing over 20 years to 5 metres in height, with a spread of 3 metres, the silver pagoda dogwood is a lovely accent tree for even a small garden. The branches, upturned at the ends, grow in tiers with wide gaps in between, leading to the descriptive name pagoda, and giving them a particularly graceful appearance. The bright white flowers appear in spring to early summer, and give way to flattish blue-black fruits on red stalks by October. Throughout the growing season, the green leaves with their silver-white edging light up the landscape, giving its name the silver pagoda dogwood. In fall, they turn reddish-purple before dropping off.
Cornus alternifolia Argentea grows best in sun to semi-shade, with a well-drained acidic soil rich in organic matter with medium moisture. It needs little or no pruning, as its natural shape is part of its attractive appearance.
The silver pagoda dogwood can be planted as an accent plant in lawn, in a garden setting, or along the edge of woodlands. Its versatility, size and year-round beauty make it a valuable addition to any garden.