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Chinese flower dogwood


from 500.00cm to 800.00cm
Growth width
from 400.00cm to 600.00cm
Growth characteristics
  • expansive
  • upright
  • overhanging
Soil moisture
  • moderately dry to moderately moist
Ornamental or utility value
  • Floral decoration
  • picturesque growth
  • Single position
  • free-growing hedges
  • Flowering hedges
Garden style
  • flower garden
  • Japanese garden
  • Park area


The Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa var. Chinensis) is one of two varieties of the Asian dogwood (Cornus kousa). It occurs naturally in China and Taiwan, hence the name. The Chinese flower dogwood belongs to the dogwood family (Cornaceae) and is often referred to when "Cornus kousa" is mentioned in general. A botanical differentiation from the Japanese dogwood (Cornus kousa var. Kousa) is difficult at the variety level, because the garden forms are often crosses of both species.


Cornus kousa var. Chinensis grows as a shrub or tree and after a few years can reach a height of up to eight meters and a width of up to six meters. The Chinese dogwood is characterized by its upright growth, but with its tiered branches that are broadly diversified. In old age the branches hang down picturesquely. With an annual growth of a good 20 centimeters, the Chinese dogwood is one of the slow-growing garden trees.


The leaves of the Chinese flower dog bar, which are medium green at the top and white-green at the bottom, are oval in shape and taper to a point at the top. The leaves, which are up to eleven centimeters long and five centimeters wide, have entire margins, are slightly wavy and are arranged opposite one another. In autumn, the summer green Chinese dogwood impresses with a flaming red autumn color.


Both types of the Asian dogwood are real flower stars, even if the abundance of flowers is mainly dummy flowers (pseudanthia). The eye-catcher of Cornus kousa var. Chinensis are the four white to slightly rose-colored bracts, in the center of which are the umbels of small green-yellow heads - the actual flowers. The attractive flower arrangement appears from the end of May to June.


The umbels of the flowers grow together to form red false fruits that are somewhat reminiscent of raspberries. They sit on long stems and are suitable for consumption and for making liqueurs, even if the taste is described as rather bland.


The Chinese flower dogwood prefers to be in the sun or partial shade and a little sheltered. The ornamental wood benefits from a humid location.


The optimal soil for Cornus kousa var. Chinensis is nutrient-rich, loose and humus. A slightly acidic pH value is preferred, but lime is poorly tolerated. The location should be fresh, but rather dry than too wet.


Flower dogwoods can be planted year-round as long as it isn't freezing. The optimal time is between November and April. Drain the substrate in the planting hole with gravel or crushed stone and improve the soil with deciduous compost or rhododendron soil to lower the pH. Don't put flower dogwood in too deep! Make sure that the root ball protrudes a little over the top of the planting hole. With a layer of bark mulch you protect the shallow roots and keep evaporation in check.


Of all the flower dogwoods, the Chinese flower dogwood is the most insensitive. It copes better with drought than its Japanese brother and is less sensitive to temperature than the American dogwood. Once established in its location, Cornus kousa var. Chinensis is absolutely easy to care for and robust. A handful of horn shavings in spring is sufficient for the ornamental shrub as fertilizer. Work this very carefully into the upper layer of soil so as not to damage the roots.


Cornus kousa var. Chinensis does not need pruning. Its growth becomes more picturesque over the years and should not be impaired by pruning the branches. If thinning is necessary, cut the shrub cautiously immediately after flowering.

Video: 5 trees that don't need pruning

The dogwood is not the only wood that does not need pruning. In our video we introduce you to 4 other trees in addition to the dogwood, where you don't have to use scissors.

Many hobby gardeners resort to scissors all too quickly: there are quite a few trees and bushes that can do without pruning - and those where regular pruning is even counterproductive. In this video, gardening professional Dieke van Dieken introduces you to 5 beautiful trees that you should simply let grow
MSG / camera + editing: CreativeUnit / Fabian Heckle


Flower dogwoods are real flower stars and should therefore best be set as a solitary wood. The Chinese dogwood is a grandiose accent, especially in Asian gardens. As a radiant cloud of flowers in front of a dark background, for example in front of trees or hedges, it comes into its own, but Cornus kousa var. Chinensis also has an effect as a background plant in the perennial bed. Tip: Do not combine flowering shrubs with Cornus kousa, which are blooming at the same time, but enjoy each blooming period on its own.


Variants of the Chinese dogwood are often traded under the name "Asian dogwood" or simply "Cornus kousa", sometimes even under the name "Japanese dogwood". Do not be confused by the incorrect naming and check the exact botanical name - this way you play it safe. Special varieties of Cornus kousa var. Chinensis are, for example, the green-white flowering China Girl ’variety or the large-leaved Butterfly’ variety, whose slender bracts initially bloom white and then turn pink as they bloom. The stiffly upright growing ‘White Fountain’ variety remains rather smaller at around four meters in height. Due to its good growth characteristics and robust nature, the Chinese dogwood is also often used as a basis for new crosses. A particularly successful new breed is the extremely large-flowered and anthracnose-resistant hybrid Cornus kousa ‘Venus’, a combination of Chinese and Pacific dogwoods (Cornus nuttallii).


The Chinese dogwood is preferably propagated by cuttings. Since the shrub grows very slowly, it is advisable to purchase a young plant from a specialist store. Seeds can be obtained from the fruits for sowing. It is important to ensure that the pulp is completely removed, because the inhibitors contained in it greatly reduce the germination rate. The many hybrid forms of Cornus kousa var. Chinensis can only be obtained through grafting.

Diseases and pests

Both Asian dogwoods are extremely resistant to disease. The dangerous anthracnose, a fungal infection that particularly affects the American dogwood and can destroy entire bushes, is not a problem for the Chinese dogwood, as is pest infestation. Occasionally, depending on the weather and location, powdery mildew or leaf spots may appear