The Stellar Pink Dogwood is a vigorous hybrid tree specially created to be resistant to the diseases that are causing problems in some areas with growing flowering dogwoods. It is a beautiful small tree, reaching perhaps 20 feet in height, maturing to a broad pyramidal form with low sweeping branches. It flowers later than other American dogwoods, in mid-May, when the branches are covered in spectacular pink blooms. In fall the leaves turn rich purple-red, making a beautiful finale to the seasons. This tree is a very effective lawn specimen, or it can be grown near or beneath deciduous trees in a semi-natural woodland setting.
- Beautiful soft pink flowers in late May
- Bred for disease resistance
- Delightful small tree for lawns and wooded areas
- Wonderful fall colors of purple-red
- Broad form with sweeping branches
The Stellar Pink Dogwood will grow best in full sun in cooler regions, and partial shade in hotter states. It thrives best in moist, well-drained soil with plenty of organic material added, but grows well in ordinary garden soil. It should be mulched in spring to conserve moisture and maintain the richness of the soil. It has limited resistance to drought once established, but high resistance to anthracnose and dogwood borer. No pruning is needed to grow this tree at its most beautiful.
Flowering dogwoods are the queens of the spring garden, but in some areas diseases are a problem. If you live in a neighborhood where you see dogwoods dying, or your neighbors have lost them in the past, you may feel that planting a new one will be a failure. Not necessarily. The good news is that researchers have developed disease-resistant forms of these wonderful trees, and if you plant one of these you have a high probability of success. As well, these newer varieties are smaller and more compact, and so ideal for smaller gardens. Best of all they are profuse bloomers with large flowers in wonderful shades of pink and red. The Stellar Pink Dogwood is certainly one of the best of them, and it is the perfect solution for dogwood lovers who live in areas where disease is common on these special trees.
Growing Stellar Pink Dogwood Trees
The Stellar Pink Dogwood grows into a small tree, between 15 and 20 feet tall, and just as wide. When young it is vase-shaped, but as it matures it takes on a broad pyramidal habit, with a flat top and with wide, sweeping branches that give a graceful profile to the tree. This beautiful tree is the perfect lawn specimen to grace any garden, big or small, or to fringe a wooded area of deciduous trees. It looks perfect in a large bed with other shrubs and small trees, or perhaps mixed with larger trees and flowering plants in a semi-natural woodland. World-renowned for their great beauty, dogwood trees should be grown everywhere they can be, and this variety is a top pick.
The Stellar Pink Dogwood blooms in late May, when the large blooms open in profusion on the bare branches. The true flowers of this unique tree are small and inconspicuous. Greenish-yellow, they cluster like a button in the center of four large modified leaves, called bracts, which in this variety are a beautiful, glowing light pink color. They are large, creating a ‘flower’ that is a full 4-inches across. There are so many of these blooms on a mature tree that they completely cover the branches, and the effect is truly stunning.
This variety begins to flower just as other flowering dogwoods are finishing, so in a larger garden it is a great way to continue the dogwood show. You could plant a top-quality variety like the Cherokee Chief Dogwood, which flowers in April to early May, and its rich pinky-red blooms would be followed by the lovely light pink of your Stellar Pink Dogwood.
The foliage of this tree emerges just after the flowers, and the attractive leaves are elliptical, about 5 inches long and 2 inches wide, with a broad base and a tapering tip. All summer the branches are filled with these beautiful leaves, and in fall they turn rich shades of deep purple-red, adding to the colorful display of other deciduous trees you may have in your garden, like maple or oak.
Planting and Initial Care
The Stellar Pink Dogwood should be planted in a spot with afternoon shade, although in northern areas it will also grow very well in full sun. It will grow in most garden soils, doing best in ones you have enriched with organic material and that are moist and well-drained. This is a tree for almost anywhere, but not ideal without irrigation if you live in an area subject to long periods of drought.
Mulch over the root-area each spring with rich compost or manure, to conserve moisture and maintain the health and nutrient-status of the soil. The tree needs no pruning, except perhaps to expose more trunk as it grows. It can be grown as a single stem, or allowed to develop two or three trunks, giving you a tree with more character. What makes the Stellar Pink Dogwood so outstanding is it vigor and resistant to common problems and diseases suffered by other dogwoods, such as anthracnose and dogwood borer.
History and Origins of the Stellar Pink Dogwood Tree
The Stellar Pink Dogwood is an interesting hybrid plant, developed by Elwin R. Orton, Jr, at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He took the Japanese Dogwood, Cornus kousa, and crossed it with a variety of the American flowering dogwood, Cornus florida ‘Sweetwater’. The Japanese Dogwood grows in Japan, China and Korea. and it has white bracts. It flowers much later than the American dogwood, which grows from Maine to Florida. The variety ‘Sweetwater’ has deep pink bracts.
When Professor Orton germinated the seed that he had from this cross, the plants were very variable in flower color. One with especially striking pink flowers he named ‘Rutgen’, and he and the University were granted a patent on it in 1990. It was trademarked as Stellar Pink, and it is one of a series of trees he produced by hybridization – the Stellar Series – containing other attractive and disease-resistant dogwood trees. A group of nurserymen in Franklin County, Tennessee, who specialize in growing dogwood trees, obtained the exclusive rights to produce Rutger’s Stellar Series dogwoods.