Cornus controversa 'Variegata'
wedding cake tree
- Position: full sun to part shade
- Soil: deep, fertile, moisture-retentive soil
- Rate of growth: slow-growing to average
- Flowering period: June
- Hardiness: fully hardy
Known as the wedding-cake tree, because of its distinctive, horizontal, tiered habit, this tree makes a lovely focal point for a small to medium-sized garden. It has bright green leaves with bold, creamy-white margins, which turn red-purple in autumn and produces clusters of white flowers in June. Although it tolerates dappled shade, it performs best in fertile, moisture-retentive soil in full sun.
- Garden care: Incorporate a quantity of well-rotted garden compost or horse manure in the planting hole to improve the moisture-retentive qualities of the soil. The tree requires no regular pruning, since this would interfere with its graceful, tiered habit.
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Q:Thanks for your answer to my question "can this be grown in a pot. Could if be started off in a pot? My granddaughter is getting married this year and I was considering buying her one. At the moment they only have a patio garden but hope to move in a few years and have a house with some land. Thought it would be a lasting memento of their wedding day.Asked on 8/18/2013 by Grandma from Plymouth
That sounds a lovely idea. Yes you could start growing it in a large pot, with the view to it being planted out in the garden eventually. It will need to be fed and watered regularly as it won't like drying out, and it will use up the nutrients in that pot quickly.
Hope this helpsAnswered on 8/19/2013 by Georgina from Crocus
Q:Can this be grown in a pot?Asked on 8/13/2013 by Grandma from Devon
I wouldn't recommend trying to grow this is a pot as eventually it can grow to 8mx8m, even though it is quite a slow grower. It would be happier grown in the garden where it can develop the wonderful tiered habit without being restricted.
Hope this helpsAnswered on 8/14/2013 by Georgina from Crocus
Q:how long does the wedding cake tree take to mature to its full size ? also can it be cut to keep in shape or cut to keep to the size one would like?Asked on 6/25/2013 by weedme from waterford eire
It is very difficult to say how long a particular plant will take to reach it's mature size as this can be determined by a number of external factors such as the available water, light and nutrients as well as aspect, space and soil type, so it could be between 20-50yrs.
I wouldn't prune it as this would interfere with its graceful, tiered habit.
Hope this helpsAnswered on 6/26/2013 by Georgina from Crocus
Q:We planted our Cornus controvers variegata about 18 years ago and it turned into a beautiful medium sized tree but now one side of the tree has dies and all branches have no growth while the other side is full of leaves and flowerbuds. Can you tell me if the tree is dying? The branches are also covered in yellow moss. I am worried and need some advice.Asked on 5/29/2013 by dutch tulip from essex epping
There are a couple of things that may be to blame. If the plants around the Cornus have grown or if there has been some building work, then this could be casting more shade. Nearby plants (if they are a reasonable size) will also be competing for water and nutrients. If however there is no serious competition, then I would look for symptoms of either Antracnose or Phytophthora.
Anthracnose initially causes spotting on the foliage and bracts in late spring or early summer, usually appearing towards the bottom of the tree first. Over time this can cause extensive dieback. This is caused by a fungus, which thrives in cool, wet conditions. The only course of action is to prune out the affected stems to help prevent its spread.
Phytophthora is another fungal disease that causes rotting of the roots and base of the stem. If a small section of bark is removed the affected areas, you will see a reddish brown discolouration. The foliage on the crown thins and the stems start to die back. Unfortunately there is no cure for this disease, so if it has taken hold, the whole plant should be removed, along with as much of the surrounding soil as possible.Answered on 5/31/2013 by Helen from Crocus
Q:how tall is the wedding cake tree if its supplied in a three litre potAsked on 4/11/2013 by earthmom
These do vary a little, but on average they will be around 30cm tall in a 3-litre pot.Answered on 4/11/2013 by Helen from Crocus
Q:Given tree for present in pot can I leave it in this outside for a week or two in this weather bit snowy and little frost at night...Asked on 3/14/2013 by Ann from Nairn
This plant is fully hardy, so it should be left outside throughout the year. I would also advise either planting it out into the border or potting it on as soon as you can.Answered on 3/14/2013 by Helen from Crocus
Q:Hello. I have bought a cornus controversa variagatea, and as I moved the last one too many times was thinking it might be better off in a nice tub, will it be happy as I love the layered look and don't have much space in the garden? Also shall I put it into Jon
Hn Inness no 3 or would that be too heavy? Many thanks for your help.sueAsked on 2/17/2013 by Plantaholic. But VERY picky! from South Hampshire, on the coast.
These get pretty big eventually, so ultimately it will struggle in a pot unless you can find a really big one. For the first few years however you should not have any problem, provided you make sure it is kept well fed and watered. As for the compost, I think John Innes No3 would be ideal.
I hope this helps,Answered on 2/18/2013 by Anonymous
Q:Specimen Ceanothus or another large bushy shrub....
Good afternoon, When I was first looking for a Ceanothus to replace the one we have in our front garden, I looked on your website, but you only had small ones. Our once lovely Ceanothus has been pruned out of all recognition again this year, as I planted it a bit too near our boundary when it was a baby. I know it may come back, but it is getting ridiculous as every time it grows back it has to be cut back again severely and then ooks a mess for most of the year. Have you got a nice, tall, bushy Ceanothus to replace it? I love my Ceanothus but perhaps if you don't have a big one, do you have another large, flowering shrub as an alternative? Hope you can help Regards MargaretAsked on 12/5/2009 by D DRAKETT
A:Hello Margaret, it is rare to find larger sized Ceanothus as they are usually quite short-lived and don't normally live longer than 6 - 8 years. We do have a selection of larger shrubs on our site like Hamamelis, Hydrangeas, Magnolias, Acer, Cornus, Cotinus, Philadelphus, Syringa and Viburnum, so you may find something of interest. They will be listed in this section. http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/ I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 12/8/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Cornus controversa "Variegata"
Hello, Could you please clarify the height of this tree. On your site it is registered as an 8m x 8m while anywhere else and indeed in the latest issue of "The English Garden" magazine it is listed as a small tree reaching a maximum of 3 meters. The difference in the stated height will decide on whether to have one or not - I have a very small garden. Thank you, Regards, TheodoraAsked on 7/19/2009 by Theodora Mavromatakis
A:Hello There, I have double checked with the RHS and their information states that it will grow to 8 x 8m. I hope this helps. Helen Plant DoctorAnswered on 7/20/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
Q:Cornus controversa 'Variegata'
I have an interest in buying a Cornus controversa 'Variegata'. Can you supply one with a minimum height 1.5 metres excluding container or root ball ?. Regards TerryAsked on 7/17/2009 by Terry or Jenny
A:Hello Terry, I'm afraid we only sell one size and this will come in a 3lt pot and will be around 30-45cm tall.Answered on 7/17/2009 by Crocus Helpdesk
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