Common Name : red twig dogwood
Scientific Name : Cornus sericea ‘Isanti’
Zone : 3 to 8
Height : 4 to 5 feet
Width : 4 to 7 feet
Best grown in organically rich, medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Tolerant of a wide range of soils, including swampy or boggy conditions. Trim roots with a spade and promptly remove root suckers if colonial spread is undesired. Best red stem color occurs on young stems. Although pruning is not required, many gardeners choose to remove 20-25% of the oldest stems in early spring of each year to stimulate growth of new stems which will display the best red color. As an alternative to annual pruning, some gardeners prune all stems close to the ground in early spring every 2-3 years to renew. Any loss of flowers through spring pruning is not terribly significant since the small flowers of this dogwood are rather ordinary
This redtwig dogwood cultivar is a rapid-growing, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub which grows to a maximum size of 4-5′ tall with a rounded, spreading (stoloniferous) habit. Denser and more compact than the species due in large part to its shorter internodes. The outstanding ornamental feature of this plant is its bright red winter stems which are particularly showy against a snowy backdrop. Tiny white flowers appear in flat-topped clusters (to 2.5″ diameter) in late spring, with sparse, intermittent, additional flowering sometimes continuing into summer. Flowers give way to clusters of whitish (sometimes with a bluish tinge) drupes in late summer. Fruit is quite attractive to birds and is generally considered to have as much if not more ornamental interest than the flowers. Ovate to lanceolate, dark green leaves (2-4″ long) turn an attractive reddish purple in autumn..
Susceptible to leaf and twig blights. Scale, leaf miners and bagworms are occasional insect pests.
Effective in naturalistic plantings in moist soils where plants are allowed to spread and form thickets. Also effective as property line screens. Plants perform very well in wet locations along streams or ponds where spreading roots help combat soil erosion. Also effective in shrub borders where plants can be combined with yellowtwig dogwoods (e.g., Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’) for an interesting bicolor winter stem display.