Cornus controversa 'Variegata'
wedding cake tree
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- 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. This plant in a 3lt pot wil be approx 20cm tall so won't have the tiered branches yet, - this spectacular shape develops as it grows.
- 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:When is the best time to move it
from one site to another please?Asked on 13/1/2017 by Big b from Cornwall
The best time to move a deciduous plant is when it is dormant between October to March.Answered on 17/1/2017 by Anonymous from crocus
Q:Can you suggest other plants which would go well in a large bed with this cornus? Obviously it will be the centre piece but will need under planting/companion planting .Asked on 22/9/2016 by Gardenia from West Sussex
It depends on the type of style you are trying to achieve, however I would definitely include some spring-flowering bulbs - please click on the link below to go straight to them, and then perhaps any of the following....
Euphorbia amygdaloides var. robbiae
Geraniums ('Rozanne' is my favourite)
http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/bulbs/plcid.325/vid.1798/Answered on 28/9/2016 by Helen from crocus
Q:I have had a cornus controversa for over 10 years now. The problem is that although it has tiers and looks very healthy it has grown in width but not height . The width is probably about 10 ft and height at the end of the branches about 5 ft but the middle of the tree about 4 ft. I have put garden compost on every year and fed the tree. What am I doing wrong . The tree is variegated, I have a lot of green shoots come at the base every year which I cut off.Asked on 3/9/2016 by Dbill from Reading
I am not sure that you have done anything wrong, but it does sound as though the crown may have suffered some damage at some point. The good news is that given time the tree will recover and it will start to put on more height.Answered on 28/9/2016 by Helen from crocus
Q:Is it possible to grow the cornus controversy in a large pot?
ThanksAsked on 21/7/2016 by Fred from Dorchester. Dorset
These are quite large plants, so are better suited to being planted out in the ground.Answered on 22/7/2016 by Helen from crocus
Q:Hi I purchased a wedding tree last year , as loved the shape
We have large weed looking leaves below the graft, attached to the tree ( tree is in a pot)
Can you advise pleaseAsked on 2/7/2016 by Dottie from Birmingham
If your tree is grafted, then you should remove any growth coming from below the graft union as soon as it appears.Answered on 20/7/2016 by Helen from crocus
Q:Is it possible to grow this in a pot?
I saw the tree for the first time today and bought a small plant.
Is it possible to keep it in a large plant pot rather than planting it out in the garden border?Asked on 12/6/2016 by MS from Rugby Warwickshire United Kingdom
It will be quite happy in a really large pot for a couple of years (provided it is kept really well fed and watered), however ultimately it will be much happir in the ground.Answered on 23/6/2016 by Helen from crocus
Q:just a small bit of lawn I wanted to have a little tree as a feature, but this seems a bit big in terms of width and height?? Can you keep it down at all or does it just loose its shape? Maybe better to stick with some kind of crab apple or flowering cherry?
ThanksAsked on 10/6/2016 by grannygoose from devon
I would not advise keeping this cut back too hard as it will lose its wonderful shape. If you want something smaller, then I would recommend this ornamental cherry...
http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/prunus-kiku-shidare-zakura/classid.4643/Answered on 17/6/2016 by Helen from crocus
Q:I have a cornus wedding cake tree which has been in the ground for 18 months.
It was in full bud and then there was a late frost everything is now blackened and appears dead, what can I do??Asked on 28/5/2016 by scoop from plymouth
This is such a shame, although late frosts have hot may plants badly this year. I'm afraid there is little you can do now though apart from feed it and water it and in time it will start to put on lots of fresh new growth.Answered on 31/5/2016 by Helen from crocus
Q:How well will cornus controversa variegate withstand frost?
We have damp, rich acid soil, in which rhododendrons grow.
But we are in north east Fife, Scotland and have ground frosts up to the end of May.Asked on 30/3/2016 by sheena from Cupar, north-east Fife (inland location)
This plant is fully hardy so it should be fine. If you have a really heavy frost then possibly new tender shoots could be caught, but this plant is meant to tolerate most aspects and likes a moist, acidic, fertile, well drained soil.
Hope this helpsAnswered on 31/3/2016 by Anonymous from crocus
Q:My cornus contraversa variegata looks fabulous in full leaf but has not one flower this year. Can you tell me why? I am paying attentions now to when it is best pruned as it is growing over a pathway so needs a little pruning. I understand it is to be pruned in late winter or early spring. It is about six years old.Asked on 16/6/2015 by upsydaisy from Essex
There are a number of reasons why plants don't flower including too much shade or not enough water or nutrients. I am not really sure why yours has not produced flowers this year, but given time and the right conditions, there is no reason why it shouldn't flower again. You can often give them a bit of a push by making sure it is kept well watered and feed it during the growing season with a high potash fertiliser.
Regarding pruning these plants don't like hard pruning , so if you want to remove a couple of branches it is important that that you take it slowly, tackling perhaps one branch each year - any pruning should be undertaken from autumn to early spring.
Hope this helps.Answered on 18/6/2015 by Anonymous from crocus
Certain shrubs have a tiered architectural shape, that’s broader than taller, with almost horizontal branches that really show off the flowers to full advantage. These make excellent specimens stretching over a lawn, or placed strategically in the garRead full article