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Cornus alternifolia 'Golden Shadows' placement?

Posted by prairiemoon2 zone 6a/MA (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 6:38

Hi, I made an impulse buy of this Cornus 'Golden Shadows' at a Botanical Garden sale last year and planted it temporarily. I checked it last week and it is looking good, but I know I have to move it as soon as the ground allows me. I'm looking around my yard at possible locations and one jumped out at me, in that it would have an evergreen backdrop and have plenty of room to stretch out. Then I realized the location was in about 6 hrs of sun and I thought Cornus prefer more shade than that.

Anyone have any experience with this tree or any idea whether they would prefer more shade than this? Thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Cornus alternifolia 'Golden Shadows' placement?

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 25, 14 at 9:50

Pagoda Dogwood can grow in full sun in cooler zones but not this cultivar. Mine was in its 3rd summer last year and burned somewhat in 4 hours of direct sun. You might get away with it if you have a nice root system and the 6 hours is all morning/early afternoon sun.

Yes an evergreen or any green backdrop makes the plant pop. Thats how mine is situated. One of my fav plants.

RE: Cornus alternifolia 'Golden Shadows' placement?

Thanks Whaas! I've got my eye on another location. I have plenty of shade and part shade. Just not that evergreen background. But, then again, I was planning on adding another dark blue holly behind it. Of course, it will take years to get to a good size, but so will the Cornus.

I bought it in a gallon for $35. I couldn't resist. And it looks good, has a very nice structure to it so far, but it's small. I was happy to read that it is more vigorous than another variegated Cornus alternifolia. That is something I am always concerned about with variegation.

I have read conflicting reports on how large it gets. One reference said 8ft. Another said 20ft. That's quite a range. And 15ft wide maybe? Hard to figure how much room to leave it. It would share a corner with a Cornus 'Constellation' that is already about 12ft tall.

RE: Cornus alternifolia 'Golden Shadows' placement?

Just wanted to chime in to say that I'm very interested to hear about your Golden Shadows progression!

I'm considering one for a shady corner (heavily dappled in the morning with perhaps 2 hours full-ish sun approaching noon, then full shade for the rest of the afteroon) between my pond and my deck in my east-facing back yard. There's mostly moss on the ground in this particular spot -- not even sunny enough for grass.

I've started the hunt for one of these locally and hope to not have to order it online if it can be avoided. Can I ask how tall it was in the 1 gallon pot when you bought it? I'd love to see a picture of how he/she has come along thus far =D Do you have any problems with it getting nibbled by anything?

Good luck and thank you!

Kindest regards,

RE: Cornus alternifolia 'Golden Shadows' placement?

Aside from the health of the tree, 'Golden Shadows' looks much better in the shade in my experience. Bright direct sun bleaches out the leaves and gives them a pale sickly look. In shade the leaves look much healthier and brighten up the shady area.

RE: Cornus alternifolia 'Golden Shadows' placement?

Hi PM2, I looked up images of 'Golden Shadows' and that is one pretty C. alternifolia. What a nice variegation, I wonder what the fall color is like?

I love this tree, purchased 10 seedlings back in 2008 and there are 5 or 6 planted out. A couple are sandwiched between 2 big Silver maples in a dry area. Of all the native dogwood species I've got (C. sericea, C. racemosa, C. florida) it is the most drought tolerant. It is also pretty tolerant of shade and will bloom pretty well with 2-3 hours of sun.

A couple of the trees have been blooming and fruiting nicely the past couple years, the others are coming along. There are a steady stream of birds that visit this tree when it is fruiting. The resident Robin tries to hog them but I have the fruiting shrubs and small trees spread out over the yard so he can't really do that.

Here's a pic of my favorite seedling -

RE: Cornus alternifolia 'Golden Shadows' placement?

Golden Shadows likes shade from my experience. Don't give it too much sun or it will burn.

RE: Cornus alternifolia 'Golden Shadows' placement?

  • Posted by whaas 5a SE WI (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 1, 14 at 21:19

Terrene, I noticed C. alternifolia is more drought tolerant than most other dogwoods as well. You always see "must have cool, moist soil". Nope they are native here growing on sandy slopes at the edge of woodlands.

Golden Shadows had a somewhat muted, but bright red fall color for me.

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