Kousa Dogwood – Cornus Kousa


General: One of our favorite small deciduous trees. This tree has something to offer in every season. It is vase shaped and grows to 30′ in height with a 20′ spread.

Leaves:  2-4″ long, ovate, dark green in summer turning scarlet in the fall.

Fruit: A tasty drupe that turns a nice dark pink and is conspicuous from August on or until eaten by wildlife.

Flowers: The flower of the Kousa dogwood is normally confused for the four white bracts that are narrowly pointed petal-like (3-5” across) that surround the center cluster of the true flower which are insignificant and yellowish-green in color.

Bark: Older bark exfoliates in irregular patches that produce multi-colors of grays and browns

Attributes: Good size for the average yard, easy to care for, pretty leaf and long lasting flower, beautiful fall foliage, interesting bark and horizontal branching pattern seen in winter.


Hardiness: Zone 5 to 8

Growing Conditions: Prefers acidic, well-drained soil and sunny to light shade conditions though will flower more abundantly and have nicer fall color in a sunny location. Not drought tolerant.

Maintenance: Minimal pruning and no insect or disease problems. Cornus kousa is resistant to the dogwood anthracnose disease that can affect Cornus florida.

Transplanting: Balled and burlapped in early spring or from container as a young tree. Deep watering once a week until established. A good rule of thumb is to take care of the watering needs of newly planted trees one year for each inch of trunk caliper. After this period of time the tree should be established and should only need watering during times of drought.


Our Experience

Experience at Great Hill
This is a very easy tree to take care of and enjoy. We grow several nice cultivars including a pretty pink one called ‘Satomi’. The flowers develop after the leaves. The showy parts of the flower are the 4 bracts that persist up to 6 weeks. The effect is a strikingly pleasant contrast of milky white bracts against dark green leaves. They are in full bloom here mid to late June.

Historical Winter Data:


Florida Dogwood – Cornus florida


General: A small, low branched tree with horizontal branches and a flat crown. Often wider than it is tall at maturity. Typically grows 20’ in height but is capable of reaching 30-40’.

Leaves: Opposite, simple and oval, 3 to 6” long. Bronze to yellow green when unfolding maturing to dark green in the summer and red to reddish purple in the fall.

Flowers: ¼” true flowers are a greenish yellow surrounded by 4 white showy bracts 4” across. Flowers April to May either before leaf emergence or while leaves develop.

Fruit: A cluster of glossy red drupes ½” long from September to October. Enjoyed by many bird species.

Bark: Grayish brown to black blocks resembling an alligators back.

Attributes:  Used as a specimen tree with four seasons of interest (bark, flower, fruit and fall color) Can also be used in groupings or in parks.


Hardiness:  Zones 5-9.

Growing Conditions: Prefers a well drained, moist, acidic soil high in organic matter. Part shade to full sun.

Maintenance Highly susceptible to a number of insect pests as well as diseases. Stressors such as pollution, heat, drought or cold only increase likelihood of disease development. Anthracnose, mildews, leaf spots and rusts, blights, cankers and bacterial diseases and borer…to name a few…

Transplanting: Transplants well if proper cultural requirements are met.



Our Experience

Experience at Great Hill

We have two mature cornus florida on the landscape. The white cultivar, “Alba”, flowers well most seasons, but, our pink cultivar “Rubra” leaves much to be desired in flower 3 seasons out of 5. As this tree is susceptible to so many diseases, and so intolerant of stress, it’s a gamble to purchase and showcase. Great care has to be made in placement and cultivar selection in order to reap any aesthetic benefit.





Cornus Bloom Data 2023

Plant NameBud BreakFull BloomBloom Drop
florida 'Alba'April 17May 10May 27
florida 'Rubra'April 19May 10May 24
x 'Rutgan' Stellar PinkMay 8May 18June 7
x 'Rutcan' AuroraApril 26May 17June 8
x 'Rutcan' ConstellationApril 26May 17June 8
kousa 'Heart Throb'May 15June 5June 23
kousa 'Satomi'May 10June 4July 9
kousa 'Moon Beam'May 13June 3June 27
kousa 'Summer Majesty'May 13June 9June 27
kousa 'Ticknor's Choice'May 11June 6July 2
kousa 'Wolfs Eye'May 12June 8July 6
kousa 'Big Apple'May 14June 10July 6

Cornus Bloom Data 2022

Plant NameBud BreakFull BloomBloom Drop
florida 'Alba'May 4May 16May 29
florida 'Rubra'May 3May 14June 1
x 'Rutgan' Stellar PinkMay 9June 1June 18
x 'Rutcan' AuroraMay 7May 23June 18
x 'Rutcan' ConstellationMay 5May 18June 11
kousa 'Heart Throb'May 12June 8June 28
kousa 'Satomi'May 14June 8July 4
kousa 'Moon Beam'May 9June 6June 27
kousa 'Summer Majesty'May 14June 9June 27
kousa 'Ticknor's Choice'May 11June 6July 2
kousa 'Wolfs Eye'May 12June 8July 6
kousa 'Big Apple'May 14June 10July 6