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Native alternative(s) for Cornus hybrids:
Cornus florida Cornus florida
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Cornus officinalis leaves and flowers
Cornus kousa Cornus kousa
Cornus controversa Cornus controversa

Stellar Hybrids Cornus hybrids

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
KOR-nus hai-bruhdz
Description

The Hybrid Flowering Dogwood is a cross between the Flowering Dogwood, Cornus Florida, and Kousa Dogwood, Cornus kousaThere are several cultivars available including 'Aurora,' 'Constellation,' 'Stellar Pink,' and 'Celestial.' These plants were developed by Elvin R. Orton, Jr of Rutgers University, and they are a part of the Stellar Series. 

In the 1970s, our native Flowering Dogwood was severely impacted by anthracnose and was also susceptible to Dogwood borers. Dr. Orton crossed the two plants in hopes of developing a plant that would be resistant.  In the 1990s, he introduced the Stellar Series. He also developed the fast-growing "Hyperion.' These plants are known to be resistant to borers and anthracnose. They are sometimes designated in commerce as Cornus x rutgersensis.

The genus name, Cornus, is Latin for the word, cornu, which means "horn." This references the hardness of the wood. 

The Hybrid Flowering Dogwood is best grown in full sun to partial shade and in organically rich acidic soils. They prefer moist and well-drained soil. Mulching keeps the roots moist and cool during the hot summer.

Depending on the cultivar the height, width, habit, and flower color may differ. The cultivars are sterile.

Below are the descriptions of several of the popular cultivars.

  • 'Aurora'--upright, showy creamy white overlapping flower bracts, 
  • 'Celestial'--dense, upright habit, up to 20 feet tall and wide, dark green leaves that turn purplish-red in the fall, blooms heavily, showy flowers emerge white tinged with green and mature to pink, small fruits are sterile
  • 'Constellation'--low branching habit, up to 16-22 feet tall and 12-18 feet wide, oval dark green leaves that turn purplish-red in the fall, large showy white petal-like bracts, produces no fruit
  • 'Stellar Pink'--dense, upright habit, up to 15-30 feet tall and wide, dark green leaves turn purplish-red in the fall, showy four-petaled pink flower, sterile and produces no fruit

The Flowering Hybrids are popular for home lawns and patios. They are attractive trees with showy flowers and would serve well as a specimen or in a small grouping. 

Seasons of Interest:  Foliage: Fall   Bloom: Spring  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Problems: Leaf miners and scale are less serious potential insect pests. These hybrids are resistant to anthracnose and Dogwood Borers.

 

 

 

See this plant in the following landscapes:
Woodland Backyard Garden Walk Paul J Ciener Botanical Garden
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aurora'
    creamy white overlapping flower bracts
  • 'Celestial'
    four bracts emerge white tinged with green and mature to pink
  • 'Constellation'
    showy flat white petal-like bracts, purplish-red fall leaves
  • 'Hyperion'
    fast-growing, profuse white flowers
  • 'Ruth Ellen'
    brilliant white flower, hardiness zone 6a
  • 'Saturn'
    large white flowers, compact, dense, wider than tall
  • 'Stardust'
    white flowers, hardiness zone 6a, vigorous grower
  • 'Stellar Pink'
    four showy flat petaled pink bracts, purplish-red fall leaves
'Aurora', 'Celestial', 'Constellation', 'Hyperion', 'Ruth Ellen', 'Saturn', 'Stardust', 'Stellar Pink'
Tags:
#deciduous#small tree#white flowers#wildlife plant#nectar plant#fall interest#flowering tree#specialized bees#disease resistant#summer flowers#deer resistant#light pink flowers#whimsical#pollinator plant#deciduous tree#bird friendly
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aurora'
    creamy white overlapping flower bracts
  • 'Celestial'
    four bracts emerge white tinged with green and mature to pink
  • 'Constellation'
    showy flat white petal-like bracts, purplish-red fall leaves
  • 'Hyperion'
    fast-growing, profuse white flowers
  • 'Ruth Ellen'
    brilliant white flower, hardiness zone 6a
  • 'Saturn'
    large white flowers, compact, dense, wider than tall
  • 'Stardust'
    white flowers, hardiness zone 6a, vigorous grower
  • 'Stellar Pink'
    four showy flat petaled pink bracts, purplish-red fall leaves
'Aurora', 'Celestial', 'Constellation', 'Hyperion', 'Ruth Ellen', 'Saturn', 'Stardust', 'Stellar Pink'
Tags:
#deciduous#small tree#white flowers#wildlife plant#nectar plant#fall interest#flowering tree#specialized bees#disease resistant#summer flowers#deer resistant#light pink flowers#whimsical#pollinator plant#deciduous tree#bird friendly
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cornus
    Species:
    hybrids
    Family:
    Cornaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Hybrid cultivated at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts birds and pollinating insects
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to anthracnose and Dogwood Borers
    Dimensions:
    Height: 15 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 15 ft. 0 in. - 20 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Dense
    Erect
    Multi-stemmed
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    The cultivars are sterile and usually do not produce fruits.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cross
    Flower Petals:
    Bracts
    Flower Size:
    3-6 inches
    Flower Description:
    The blooms have showy, petal-like bracts that give the appearance of a single large four-petaled flower. The floral bracts may be spaced or overlapping, depending on the cultivar. The colors of the blooms may be white, creamy white, or pink, depending on the cultivar.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are dark green, simple, and opposite with entire margins. They are ovate to elliptical and measure 3 to 6 inches long, depending on the cultivar. The foliage turns purplish-red in the fall.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Patio
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Small groups
    Small Tree
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer