Brightest Red Red-Twig Dogwoods

sharons2(z3-4 ID)January 14, 2006

I've been trying to compare the stems of a lot of the Red-Twig Dogwoods, though I don't have access to a lot of different varieties at the nurseries.

This is what I've been able to find so far:

Dark Burgandy:

Cornus alba 'Elegantissma' or 'Albovariegata'

Cornus alba IVORY HALO 'Bailhalo'

Cornus alba 'Gouchaultii'

Cornus sericea 'Bailey'


Bright Red:

Cornus sericea 'Isanti' - This one beckons from afar.



Guesses (but I haven't actually seen these varieties)

Are these pictures accurate or color-corrected beyond belief?

- Dark Burgandy ????

Cornus sericea 'Hedgerow's Gold' - pink fall color

Cornus alba 'Alleman's Compact' - not susceptable to leaf spot

- Bright Red ????

Cornus sericea 'Cardinal' (



-- This second picture of the 'Cardinal' isn't nearly as impressively bright red.

Cornus alba 'Siberica' or 'Westonbirt' - Siberica is variable

Cornus alba 'Siberica Ruby'

Cornus alba 'Siberian Pearls' - is this really this red?



Cornus alba 'RED GNOME'

Salix 'Flame'


Can anyone compare my Bright Red guesses and 'Isanti' for color? Are these pictures accurate (especially the 'Siberian Pearls')? I'm really mostly interested in ones that will be showy from afar.



Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

From Cappiello & Shadow, DOGWOODS (2005, Timber Press):

Cornus alba 'Alleman's Compact': "muted red"
C. alba 'Argenteo-marginata' ('Elegantissima'): "dark red"
C. alba 'Bailhalo' (Ivory Halo TM): "not overwhelming"
C. alba 'Chblzam' (Chief Bloodgood TM): "brilliant coral-red"
C. alba 'Gouchaultii': "the dark winter stems can be generously described as subtle"
C. alba 'Regnzam' (Red Gnome TM): "bright red"
C. alba 'Ruby': No stem color description given
C. alba 'Siberian Pearls': No stem color description given
C. alba 'Sibirica': "coral pink"
C. stolonifera f. baileyi ('Baileyi', 'Bailey'): "brown-red"
C. stolonifera 'Cardinal': "brilliant red" ("zones 7-8... yellow-orange")
C. stolonifera 'Hedgerow's Gold': No stem color description given
C. stolonifera 'Isanti': No stem color description given

Cappiello & Shadow treat more kinds than you have listed here, including C. alba 'Bloodgood':

"According to the late J. C. Raulston (pers. comm.), this selection had the best winter stem color of any form of C. alba in the North Carolina State University Arboretum (now JC Raulston Arboretum) in Raleigh."

    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 12:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
randyw(4-NW Iowa)

For several years, we had a Cardinal dogwood, along with a couple of others. Cardinal was by far the most colorful, and consistently so. We removed it simply b/c it outgrew its spot, & by then had such a dense root mass from suckering that we couldn't transplant it. Otherwise, it was gorgeous in winter, especially next to evergreens. Its color identically matched the 3rd picture in your sequence, not the 1st picture.

Best wishes,
Randy W.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2006 at 10:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I like the red-and-yellow combo of 'Cardinal', more interesting than all red. The two recently introduced red-and-yellow cultivars of Cornus sanguinea are even more showy, look like they are illuminated when the sun hits them in winter.

The above willow offers the same combination of colors, although not as brightly as the dogwoods. It's probably a renaming of one of the European cultivars. Leaves are different from a redtwig Salix alba* I have planted nearby, so it might belong to S. x rubens.

*Purchased locally as S. alba 'Britzensis', but catkins wrong gender (female) for that one; said to have come from Wayside via forestfarm, so if the current offering by Wayside is the same stock it is not true-to-type in that respect

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 12:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sharons2(z3-4 ID)

Thanks for the recommendation, Randy W. It's interesting that you should say it matches the 3rd picture in my series. That's not supposed to be Cardinal, and almost all the pictures I can find of it seem more of an Orange-Red. How does this compare with your coloring? Do you remember what other varieties you had?


Bboy, I've just simply got to get a copy of that book. What else does it say about each variety?

Does it note the Fall colors of the plants as well? I'm most interested in comparing 'Gouchaultii' with 'Hedgerow's Gold', but I'd also be interested jin the Fall colors for 'Chblzam' (Chief Bloodgood TM), 'Regnzam' (Red Gnome TM), 'Siberian Pearls', 'Cardinal' and 'Isanti'.

I didn't list 'Bloodgood' since the NOS Cornus alba page suggests that it is actually 'Chief Bloodgood', but they could be wrong on that.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 7:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

>What else does it say about each variety?You are right, you'd better get ahold of a copy!

>Does it note the Fall colors of the plants as well?Sometimes.

DOGWOODS says Cornus alba 'Bloodgood' "is a selection from the garden of Tom Krenitsky in Chapel Hill, North Carolina" whereas C. alba 'Chblzam' was "introduced by Lake County Nursery in Ohio". 'Chblzam' would be derived from CHief BLoodgood ZAMpini. J. Zampini is the CEO of Lake County Nursery.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lake County Nursery New Plant Home Page

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 7:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sharons2(z3-4 ID)

Bboy, I think that you misunderstood my question. I wasn't asking you to type in everything it says about each of those varieties. (Besides violating copyright, that would be a bit much to ask.) I was just trying to get a picture in my mind's eye of what the pages on the Cornus alba/stolonifera varieties look like. (Does it have lists, tables, or paragraphs about each variety? How many paragraphs? Does it list Height and Width, where it was introduced, etc...?)

I was pretty impressed with the Winter Stem descriptions of 'Elegantissima' and 'Gouchaultii'. I thought they were extremely accurate.

I was especially wondering what it had to say about the Fall color on 'Gouchaultii' vs. 'Hedgerow's Gold' since I've seen some pretty impressive pictures of the Fall color of 'Hedgerow's Gold' and have seen conflicting comments on the Fall color (or lack thereof) on 'Gouchaultii'.

I also found this picture of the Fall color of 'Siberian Pearls' which has me asking if it is too good to be true:

I have to go into the "big city" once a month; and if I can manage to spare the time, I can take a look at that book in the University library there, but that won't be until after Valentine's Day. (Rats!)


    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mytime(3/4 Alaska)

Hi Sharon,
Unfortunately, I received your email inquiry while I am out of town and have no access to my pictures, or I would just send you a picture. The leaf color on the above picture is about right, although a little too pink (but that could be from the light glare). I remember that accurately, because I have this plant surrounded by native high-bush cranberry, and the leaves match. So I don't get much show from it, since it blends in with the native plants. Also, I haven't pruned mine much, so it isn't as full as it should be for showiness. So if you get it, prune it! As far as twig color goes, I think that picture is quite accurate. The best color is on new growth, so again, you have to keep it pruned to look showy. Mine is by the driveway, so it gets covered with snow in the winter, and I don't get to see it until spring.
I think my other plant in the same area is C. alba "Sibirica variegata". It has brighter red twigs, grows showier without pruning, is fuller in the summer. It's only drawback is that the flowers pretty much blend in with the leaves. And the leaves don't turn red in the fall (or at least not before the frost gets them!) I'll try to remember to send you pictures in a couple of weeks.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 12:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sharons2(z3-4 ID)

Thanks, Mytime. I'll be looking forward to them.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 6:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carterobrien(5, Chicago)

would anyone know which of these might be suitable for containers? we have vegetable beds in our backyard that are hideous in the fall & winter to look at, but we need access to them during the summer to take care of the veggies.

so we're hoping for something bright red to spruce up the winter look, and during the spriing/summer we'd move them on to our patio.

and we aren't limited to any specific size of container, if that makes a difference.



    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 12:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ornata(London UK (8/9?))

Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' is smaller growing than other types of red-stemmed dogwood and would work well in a container. Its twigs are almost luminous, in contrasting shades of coral, bright orange and gold. The leaves are also attractive and turn orange and yellow (sometimes mottled red) in autumn. In my opinion it's by far the most eyecatching.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 7:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

I have a Cornus alba 'Albovariegata' and a Cornus sericea (cultivar unknown) in containers. The sericea is a couple years old now and is a fast grower (originally purchased as a 12" bareroot in 2003). Last spring, it looked like this:

By winter, it grew quite a bit more.

The alba was a 1 gallon that is going into its 2nd year with me.

In general, the bigger the container, the bigger they can grow. Both had a nice contrast when buried in snow, although the sericea has had a stronger red color (perhaps because it has had the most new growth, which tends to be redder than older growth). The alba is nice because of the variegated leaves during the growing season.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 11:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
carterobrien(5, Chicago)

Thank you both, can I ask if those containers survived the winter exposed, or did you need to bury them in the soil?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 1:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
randyw(4-NW Iowa)

Sorry for taking so long to respond, Sharon. I didn't check back in this forum till now & realized you had asked me a question. We also have pagoda dogwood, Kelsey's (dwarf) dogwood & an unnamed variety donated by a farmer. The unnamed variety has an orange-red color in winter, nowhere near as attractive or bold as Cardinal. I don't know what sources you have read regarding Cardinal, but our specimen was tagged as such & fits the photo as I mentioned. We also have digital photos taken & they all match very well w/ that one for color. If anything, they can tend even deeper toward maroon, but never remotely toward orange. Please refer also to this web site: "Cardinal" was developed in Minnesota & the link above should take you to a site describing it well (which describes our specimen quite well.)

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 12:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sharons2(z3-4 ID)

That's funny. I actually got the chance to see some C. servicea 'Cardinal' dogwoods at a nursery, and I wasn't very impressed with them. All 3 had been overwintered in Zone 5 or 6, and all 3 looked like a washed-out 'Midwinter Fire': pale pink and pale whitish-yellow. Do you suppose they might have been mislabeled? The 'Isanti' and (surprisingly enough) the 'Hedgerows Gold' dogwoods were bright red and matched my picture #3, though.

I also got a chance to take a quick look at Dogwoods: the Genus Cornus while I was down there - though not nearly as long as I would have liked. It really is a nice book, and opinionated, too.

It said that every mature 'Hedgerows Gold' they'd seen looked absolutely ravaged with leaf spot by the end of the season, but that poor garden sanitation (what's that?) might have been an issue. That's not much of a recommendation for a shrub that I'm thinking to plant near my front door, so I think I'll keep watching it at the nursery for a while.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 10:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Carter - I let the snow "bury" them for me! LOL The below was after our February 11/12 nor'easter (we got about 16" snow and I had a couple 1ft drifts covering the containers):

These dogwoods are very hardy (to Zone 2/3). No need to bury even when potted where I am and probably no need where you are if you have an average winter. I expect they like a good snow cover too. Because they are tolerant of wet areas, being too cold/wet in a container doesn't seem to phase them. I don't know what they would do in severe, continual below 0° F weather when containered (eg., in the -10s or lower), but in that case, the root system might need some protection from freeze/thaw. Mine have been through some single digit days (lowest ~4° F and longest ~8 - 11° F for most of a day), as well as extended teens during winter 2004/2005 (my lowest this past mild winter was ~12° F back in December) and they were fine. In general, the bigger the container, the more moderation of soil temps.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 11:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
randyw(4-NW Iowa)

I've been reviewing descriptions of "Isanti" dogwood based on your response. My specimen was taller than I am (maybe 8' when I took it out), so it doesn't seem to fit Isanti which is listed as being smaller than that. It was planted in 1999; I took it out last year, & even its oldest stems were still fully coloring from tip to ground level. We would even trim winter branches to use as part of bouquets. We would have kept it, if it wouldn't have been that it was getting too big for its spot, & kept aggressively sending out new shoots from its ever-widening base.

However, it does seem that there isn't a consistency on web sites about descriptions & photographs of Isanti & Cardinal. So, I'm not sure what to tell you. Maybe it makes a difference where it's being grown; I'm in zone 4, it was planted in mulched, rich but somewhat alkaline soil.

Best wishes,
Randy W.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 2:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Coloring of 'Cardinal' varies with season. Colored twig forms of Salix alba do this as well.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 3:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sharons2(z3-4 ID)

Well, I got my very own copies of Dogwoods: the Genus Cornus and Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants and have been referring to them frequently as Spring Fever sets in. What does it mean when it says there are "shorter internodes" and a "decidedly fine texture"? Does that mean there are more and smaller branches? Or does "decidedly fine texture" mean there are fewer of them?

At the nursery and botanical gardens, the 'Isanti' and 'Hedgerows Gold' dogwoods have always been bright red, and 'Gouchaultii' has indeed been unimpressive (at least in winter). I asked someone at the nursery why their 'Cardinal' dogwoods were so pale; and she said, "they are several years old and we never fertilize our plants, so maybe they have a nutrient deficiency or something like that."

Does anyone grow 'Chblzam' (Chief Bloodgood TM) or 'Regnzam' (Red Gnome TM) that can comment on them?


    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 5:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who contributed info, especially pictures of their red twig has all helped me to realize that they will be the perfect answer to a beautiful border in my front yard and to keep the neighbor's dog (on a fully extended retractable leash) from running across my "lawn" while passing by 3x a day. I just started searching online and after reading about these beauties and reading everyone's entries...well, I just had to join the "Club" to say thanks (and hopefully contribute and to learn more). I will be visiting the local nurseries here in snowy Vermont to find the perfect specimens to begin my natural "fence." Last Fall I transplanted much of my backyard perennials up front, added a few newbies (ie, Nikko Blue Hydrangea) and some begin a front yard garden...and I don't need any "intruders" destroying my plantings (hopefully the deer will find another way around the yard!)....I cannot wait to see "everyone" in their new home when the weather warms up and the snow finally leaves us...the red twig dogwoods will add immense pleasure and visual beauty...spring fever is taking hold! Thanks for the forum... and to the contributor with the high-rise garden....wonderful pictures!...thank you...Ei

    Bookmark   March 29, 2008 at 11:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a Hedgerow Gold in the ground now 2 years, awesome tree, about 9' tall already. Vigorous! Most beautiful leaves I've ever seen. Turns pink in fall. Winter stems are bright red-burgundy. All year long this tree is fantastic. We just went to Portland Nursery Stark Street today and bought another one for a wet spot because it is just spectacularly gorgeous. Over the years I will buy more of these. I like evergreens best but this dogwood is striking. Mine hasn't had any leaf problems at all.

Bought the first one at GardenWorld. It was tiny. They had just had a show and had a bigger one on display and the leaves were so beautiful we sprung for the tiny starter even though it was really expensive. So glad we did!

It says to keep it out of intense afternoon sun but it is shooting its branches way over the arborvitae hedge and not suffering up there. Supposedly it will form thickets. Hope so! Also flowers twice per year in this yard.

Don't think it's a shrub. It's going to be a tree, and a big one.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 10:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have 'Cardinal' Red Osier Dogwood - it's going to the compost pile this year, and if I dug it out yesterday it wouldn't be soon enough.

This is the third season, not one red twig. Granted, the placement doesn't have much sunlight, however, according to my research, this cultivar is the WORST for red coloring. And that's my experience as well. Perhaps FULL sunlight may make a difference, but I wouldn't bet my money on it.

Good luck. At least you know enough to ASK on the forum before purchasing (and I'd err towards advice from this forum as opposed to a nursery, as nurseries aren't always unbiased). LOL.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 10:50PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Need thorny suggestions
I'm looking for thorny/annoying plants to put under...
Mary Townsend
Will nandina firepower old leaves constantly change color with season?
I want to plant some of these firepower shrubs. I know...
Coppicing Red Twig Dogwood Best Method?
Do you cut all of your red twig dogwood stems down...
Aka, honeyberry, aka blue-fruited honeysuckle, aka...
Best thorny shrub to plant in front of window?
I am looking to plant a thorny shrub in front of my...
Ryan Kelley
Sponsored Products
Textured Lines Rug 9' x 12' - RED
$3,599.00 | Horchow
Contemporary Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug: Loloi Rugs Rugs Olivia Life Style
Home Depot
Laura Ashley Classic 10.5 in. Red Pinched Pleat Shade SFP310
$30.60 | Home Depot
Two-tone Red Diamond Damask 57x118-inch Tablecloth
Eminent Stripe Upholstery Fabric in Red Sea
$30.00 | FabricSeen
Livorno Bar Stool
$429.00 | FRONTGATE
Modiss | Filipo 10 Table Lamp
$777.00 | YLighting
Red Ember 40 in. Polyester Fire Pit Cover - AD114-VC
$44.98 | Hayneedle
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™