Cornus alba Kesselringii has dark red shoots that deepen to black-purple in winter, notable for their shininess, and ovate, green leaves that turn red or purple in autumn.
Not their main feature, but in spring flat clusters of small cream flowers, which attract bees, are followed by white berries in midsummer that the birds adore.
Spectacular en masse, this deciduous shrub is a superb plant for winter drama. Plant towards the back or borders or beds or in naturalistic groupings. For a conteporary look, use as a living screen or even as hedging. In addition, this is a great plant for those awkward spots like banks, slopes and boggy areas.
It is a low maintenance shrub, but the plants can become woody with age, so for great winter colour it is advisable to prune almost to the ground each March, although you will sacrifice the berries. (A solution is to prune a third of the stems back each year.) The new shoots grow quickly, however! It spreads by suckering.
Common Names: Purple Stem Winter Dogwood, White Dogwood, Red-barked Dogwood, Siberian Dogwood Kesselringii, Tatarian Dogwood Kesselringii
Hardiness: Fully hardy
Height and Spread: 200cm x 200cm
Preferred Soil Type: Humus rich, wet or moist but well-drained loam, chalk or sand
Aspect: Full sun / partial shade
Flowering Period: May – June