Cornus alternifolia 'Argentea'
(Variegated American Wedding Cake Tree) Cornus alternifolia 'Argentea' is a superb, unusual large shrub or eventually small tree with silver variegated leaves and a striking tiered habit.
A superb, unusual large shrub with silver variegated leaves and a striking, tabulated habit. In summer, pretty clusters of white flowers appear, sitting on the upper surface of the tiered branches and contrasting beautifully with the variegated leaves.
The unique shape only becomes apparent after several years growth. Not instant gratification but a stunning, architectural garden plant once established.
The similar dark green-leaved Cornus alternifolia develops the same tiered habit but is significantly more quick to grow and develop.
- Position: Full sun or light, dappled shade.
- Soil: Fertile soil.
- Hardiness: Hardy
- Flowering Period: June.
- Flower Colour: White
- Rate of Growth: Slow to moderate.
- Habit: Large shrub with a handsome tiered shape once established.
- Height: 3 m (10 ft)
- Spread: 2.5 m. (8 ft)
- Pruning: After planting, look for a strongly growing stem developing after about two to four years, perhaps growing at an odd angle but obviously much more vigorous than the normal shoots. Train this stem vertically (usually up a thin bamboo cane or similar) to form the trunk and basis of the tiered structure. Some plants occasionally produce two or even three of these vigorous "leaders", in this case remove all but the most central one. Once established we find a new tier of branches develop every four years or so.
- How Much Sun
- Full Sun, Light Shade
- Eventual Size
- Shrub - Large (3m+), Tree - Small (4m - 8m)
- Growing Conditions
- Soil: Acid, Soil: Not Fussy
- Special Features
- Foliage - Variegated, Habit - Architectural