Plant of the month December—Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’

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Plant of the month December—Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’

01Dec 2017

 

The days are getting shorter, the temperatures colder, and the trees have lost their colour. Grey and brown are the winter’s dominant colours—but our plant of the month for December, the Siberian dogwood, is guaranteed to bring a little colour back into your garden—even in December.

 

A firework display in your garden—the whole year round

The branches of the Cornus alba ‘Sibirica‘ are a vivid red the whole year round and provide a wonderful contrast to a layer of snow. But even when there’s no snow, the purple-coloured branches can’t help but draw the gaze, especially in winter. And no less eye-catching and colourful is the Cornus stolonifera 'Flaviramea' or red osier dogwood. Its needs in terms of growth and location are the same as the Siberian dogwood: the only difference is that its branches are a bright yellow.

In the spring and summer, this bushy shrub is covered with a lush coat of leaves. The leaves are somewhat ovate, sharp at the end, and come in a succulent green. From May to June, umbels full of soft white-yellow blossoms adorn the plant and with their contrast to the fresh green leaves, make for an extremely pretty picture. Later on the fine blossom umbels are replaced by small white berries. In autumn the leaves turn a beautiful, speckled yellow-red-orange, underlining the riot of colour that is the Cornus.

 

Whether red or yellow, solitary or hedge—the dogwood doesn’t need much to be happy

The Siberian dogwood is a very undemanding plant. It can get along with either alkaline or weakly acidic soil, and can also deal with the vagaries of the city climate. Short periods of dryness are easily dealt with—although remember to give the plant adequate water through the summer months. The dogwood is also winter-hardy. The Cornus sibirica is happiest in lightly moist and fresh soil and either in a sunny or a semi-shaded location. Intense trimming will provide gaudy new shoots, although as this plant ages, radical trimming should be avoided.