Cornus alba ‘Kesselringii’

Tartarian dogwood

black-twig dogwood

black-stem dogwood

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Outstanding Qualities

This cultivar of Cornus alba is grown for its unique shiny deep purple-black stems. The new spring foliage emerges flushed in inky purple and retains a hint of that dark coloring through the growing season. In autumn its leaves turn gold, apricot and rose-red. This shrub gives a great deal for the little it asks in the way of care and attention. It tolerates damp or dry soils, as well as that difficult combination of winter-wet-summer-dry locations.

Quick Facts

Plant Type: spreading shrub

Foliage Type: deciduous

Plant Height: 8 ft. 0 in. (2.44 meters)

Plant Width/Spread: 5 ft. 0 in. (1.52 meters)

Plant Height-Mature: 0 ft. 0 in. (0.00 meters)

Plant Width-Mature: 0 ft. 0 in. (0.00 meters)

Hardiness: USDA Zones 2 to 8

Flower Color: white

Sun/Light Exposure: full sun or light to dappled shade

Water Requirements: regular watering in well drained soil

Wildlife Associations: bees, butterflies

Colors & Combos

Great Color Contrasts: orange, silver, gold

Great Color Partners: red, bronze, dark green, black

Culture Notes
Black-twig dogwood grows best in moist well-drained soil but it is extremely adaptable, growing in a wide range of soil types including clay, sand, or wet locations. It is vigorous in full sun or light to dappled shade, but a sunnier location will provide brighter stems in winter. To encourage bright red stems cut back a third of the oldest stems to about 6 inches tall every year, leaving the strong upright young whips.