CORNUS continued
last updated 20/10/2014

Cornus florida and its cultivars

This species originates from the Eastern United States and indeed many of the modern cultivars have come from the U.S.A. The Cherokee group is an example of this. In America, Cornus floridas are incredibly common and disease is becoming a problem (particularly anthracnose). The Cherokee group has been bred in part for its disease resistance, which is very relevant in the States. Fortunately it is not a problem in this country. They form large shrubs or small bushy trees to approx 5m depending on the cultivar and conditions; some are quite upright, others more mound like.

They flower in May (after the nuttalliis but before the kousas) and are white in the species. Several selections of the variable C. florida var. rubra have been made giving shades of pink and red.

For extra interest and colour all summer, consider the variegated and coloured leaf forms. The two basic types of variegation are cream or gold margins. There are also completely gold leaved forms. So it is possible to have any combination of leaf colour with red or white flowers! They all have beautiful red and orange autumn colours.

They thrive in well drained soil which does not dry out too much in the summer and benefit from full sun to ripen the wood for flower production. Avoid frost pockets and shallow soil over chalk is not ideal.

CORNUS florida 'Appalachian Spring'

CORNUS florida 'Apple Blossom' 
Always in short supply, this smaller grower has pinky white bracts -hence Apple Blossom.

CORNUS florida 'Cherokee Brave'
This recent selection has deep rich pink bracts, highlighted by a pale pink centre.

CORNUS florida 'Cherokee Chief'
One of the best pinks - vigorous upright habit and deep rose-pink bracts, though the exact colour will be determined by light levels. As with many of the floridas, the purplish bark is covered with a lovely white bloom in winter.

CORNUS florida 'Cherokee Princess'
Selected for its consistently prolific blooming. This selection is more upright in habit. White bracts.

CORNUS florida 'Cherokee Sunset'
Another beautiful recent introduction! The young growth is vividly flushed deep pink opening green with a broad gold margin. The extra pink colour is also reflected in the gorgeous autumn colours and deep pink flower bracts. Could this be my favourite? Perhaps not as it is not the easiest to grow!!

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