Plants: x Cornus 'Rutgan®' - STELLAR PINK® dogwood

Posted by 19.02. 2008 08:45:03 (46898 readers)

x Cornus 'Rutgan®' - STELLAR PINK® dogwood

STELLAR PINK® | Stellar Pink® is another beautiful cross coming from hybridization of flowering dogwood and Japanese dogwood. It was the answer to the so-called dogwood decline in the USA caused by the anthracnose epidemic in the last decades of 20th century. This variety, same as a number of others, was bred by Elwin R.Orton, Jr. from the Rutgers University of New Jersey, USA, patented in 1988 under PP7207.

Stellar Pink® is a cross between cornus kousa and cornus florida “Sweetwater”. The flowers are in fact bracts. There are 4 wide bracts, composed around a small flower head, 10 cm across. It is very floriferous once it reaches good flowering age. It flowers from its 3rd year and profusely from about its 5th year. The colour is such delicate pink that a mature tree looks like a cotton candy cloud. The sterile flowers do not make fruits and if so they never ripen. It blooms from end May until early June for about 2 weeks.

Pointed leaves are deciduous, ovate, dark green and do not curl or droop as much as their parents´ leaves. But what they did inherit was the impressive display of autumn colours – vivid red to bright burgundy.

This dogwood is very vigorous, growing tall and wide. It can be called a small tree, well branched from the base. Pruning is not needed. But if you want to shape it or reduce its size do so as soon as possible after flowering so it can set buds for the following year. It is resistant to diseases and borers.

Stellar Pink® dogwood will look its best when planted as a free-standing specimen. Its numerous, divine flowers will then have the undivided attention in late spring and you will be able to enjoy the structure of a densely leaved plant until autumn. If however your aim is to have it in a group, consider the companions carefully. We suggest combining it with compact or dwarf, or even ground-covering varieties only, so that each plant has its attention. Yakushimanum rhododendrons, dwarf conifers, and/or evergreen groundcovers could do the job.

Every dogwood likes acidic soil, rich in organic material, and always moist. Some gardeners advise planting it in semi-shade to reduce summer sunlight but we do not recommend that. Plant it in full sun and mulch the roots well. In dry spells provide extra watering and thus you can be sure your dogwood will flower profusely and will be richer and healthier. Use of selective fertilizers supporting flowering and leaf colour is advised. Fully hardy to about -29°C (USDA zone 5).
Milan Havlis, Specializované zahradnictví
Chlumec 23, 382 32 Velešín, Czech republic
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