Plant of the week- Cornus Alba ‘Sibirica Ruby’

Ahh another week returns and this plant of the week is surprisingly one of a group of plants that haven’t featured yet, so there’s no time like the present is there!

Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ is as its name suggests is a form that came from Siberia. Cornus alba itself does have a wide range, growing from Siberia into Russia and China. These forms of C.alba also grow in thickets up to 3m tall while ‘Sibirica’ is slightly smaller growing up to 2.4m tall, which is some of the reasons it makes it a good plant for the smaller gardens. This form Ruby was selected from a batch of seedlings for having the most brightest red stems. Sibirica was first introduced into the uk though Westonbirt arboretum in around 1838.

Cornus alba ‘Sibirica Ruby’ is mainly grown for its bright red stems that give us so much delight during the winter months. If left unpruned, it will make a shrub up to just over 2.4m in height that produces while flowers in May and June which are followed by white flushed with purple fruits. The dark green leaves turn a stunning dark red colour before falling off to expose the red stems.

Growing wise, it prefers a nice damp soil but will grow away quite happily in alkaline or acidic soils. It prefers a sunny or semi shady spot in your garden. When planting, it is best to add plenty of organic material. It can be left to form a medium sized shrub but if you do this, you lose The intense redness of the stems. To get the best stem colour, you have to prune hard back down to 150mm each spring around the end of March, you can prune the whole plant like this or if you would like flowers, thin out half the plant as per above and leave half, next winter it is these 2yr old stems you cut down and leave the 1yr stems alone. After pruning, I tend to mulch with garden compost and feed with Vitax Q4. It doesn’t suffer from too many pests and diseases. Propagation wise, it is pretty easy to grow from either layering a stem onto the ground or from hardwood cuttings taken in early November and left in a cold frame until the spring

Best place to see it, is indeed RHS Wisley where it can be found near the big pond. Buying wise this form can be a bit tricky! Last in the plant finder in 2015!

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    These rock! I see them on Highway Five south and north of Portland. They must look really sharp in snowy climates. They are unpopular here because it does not get cold enough for them to color well every winter, and we are not very interested in that sort of ‘winter’ color when so much continued to bloom here. Incidentally, Cornus stolonifera happens to be native. There used to be a few cultivars with colorful twigs, yellowish or reddish, but I have not seen them since the 1980s. They are naturally a nice shiny reddish brown.

    1. thomashort says:

      Haha that’s far enough I don’t think I would be that interested in winter stem colour if you had the climate you enjoy over there but that said I would miss it. Love stolonoifera as well, we grow quite a few cultivars of that one over here as well, still think the main form is the nicest out of them, snow what’s snow ☹️☹️☹️

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Wow, that is cool to think that you have Cornus stolonifera too. We use it for reforestation, as a native, but I do not think it is colorful as the more ornamental species.

  2. mackenzieglanville says:

    amazing colour! I don’t think I have ever seen these before #MondayStumble

    1. thomashort says:

      Thank you 😀 it’s well worth adding one to the garden at some time too,

  3. fredgardener says:

    A beautiful shrub …. and birds love to hide. I cut each stem half every year but rather at the beginning of winter … I will change for March !

  4. i like it a lot especially if planted with the slower growing Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’. So easy to propagate as well, or even layering works – great plant en masse!

    1. thomashort says:

      Yes indeed looks stunning in a large group

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