Kruckeberg Botanic Garden Plant of the Month: Korean Dogwood

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Korean dogwood. Photo by Sarah Baker.
By Sarah Baker, Garden Director

The Kruckeberg Botanic Garden has several Korean dogwood trees (Cornus kousa), a testament to Garden co-founder Mareen Kruckeberg’s fondness for the species. She loved them, with good reason. 

This Asian native shines with copious flowers in early summer and red foliage in fall. Reaching only around 30 feet tall, the species is also praised by Art Kruckeberg as one of his favorite trees for small gardens.

Cornus kousa is immune to the fungal disease that plagues our native Pacific flowering dogwood, Cornus nutallii. Though our native is worth the effort to grow, Korean dogwood’s lack of disease and pest problems makes it a tempting alternative. 

For best success, plant it in full or partial sun in a moist, acidic, and well-drained soil. It is tolerant of less than ideal conditions, however. If in full sun, newly planted trees may need summer water for several years until well established.

Korean dogwood is an attractive, hardy tree that is a suitable size for most urban or suburban gardens. There are cultivars available, but why bother when the original is practically perfect?

The Kruckeberg Botanic Garden is located at 20312 15th Ave NW, Shoreline. For more information about the Garden, see the website.


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