The Cornelian, Cornus florida is a shrub or small deciduous tree native to North America. It grows slowly and looks like a small-medium sized tree, with a fairly short trunk and a roundish, broad and very branched crown; the specimens of many years can reach 10 m high. The leaves are bright green, heart-shaped, become red with the arrival of the cold, before falling.
In spring, at the same time as the leaves, it produces showy inflorescences, formed by a small bunch of small white flowers, at the base of which stand out big round bracts, of pink or white colour, red in the variety Atropurpurea; the inflorescences remain, for a long time, on the plant, and are followed by small reddish capsules containing the seeds.
The cornus florida is one of the most loved and coveted ornamental saplings by gardeners. It is particularly appreciated for its elegant appearance and for its spectacular and very elegant flowering. Due to its relatively small size, as well as in the ground, can be grown in large pots on balconies and terraces. To obtain a long lasting and vigorous specimen, some specific cultivation conditions are necessary, as well as a good dose of experience.
- It belongs to the same family as the cornelian, but comes from North America; it has the habit of a small tree, or of a medium sized shrub, even if the growth is very slow, and if grown in the same family, it is …
- The name cornel indicates a few dozen shrubs widespread in Europe, North America and Asia; once all these plants were identified as different species of Cornelian, more common than the others.
- In this section we talk about shrubs, a collection of detailed information about the different species grown in our gardens, tips for the right choice according to the needs of your ally…
The Cornelian, Cornus florida prefers sunny locations in places with not too hot summers, otherwise it likes slightly shaded places in the hottest hours of the day. Does not fear the winter cold. It is a rather resistant plant that adapts well to different climatic conditions, suffering more from the great heat of the summer days, rather than the cold of the winter season. Obviously, the exposure must also take into account the geographical area in which you are.
So for plants grown in the northernmost regions it can be easily exposed in completely sunny areas, while for regions further south, it will be necessary to place it in areas of half shade.
The Cornelian, Cornus florida during the vegetative period, from March to October, needs abundant watering, waiting however for the soil to dry up between one watering and the other, while in the cold months watering can be suspended, to allow the plant to enter into vegetative rest. It can bear, without any problems, short periods of drought, especially if the plant has been in residence for some years already.
In the spring, it is a good idea to bury organic fertilizer at the foot of the plant or add it to the watering water every 15 or 20 days to help the plant to strengthen and develop more luxuriantly.
The cornel loves particularly the loose, fertile and well drained soils; when planting it, it is good to remember to prepare an ample hole, which is to be filled on the bottom with expanded clay or other draining material, then to cover with a mixture of balanced mould, leaf mould and sand. If the soil is too compact, it is very easy to compromise the development of the plant.
This cornel is demanding because of its shallow roots, which are immediately affected by drought, but also by too much rain or a compact substrate.
So let’s choose if our soil already has a natural pH between 6 and 7, resulting in a soft and fresh, but absolutely free of calcium and clay. Alternatively we can replace it with a mixture for acidophilic or woodland, digging at least up to 50 cm deep and also preparing an excellent drainage.
The exposure can be easily in full sun, but only if we live in mountain areas, foothills or near lakes. Elsewhere we suggest to insert it where it gets direct light in the morning, but is shaded in the afternoon.
These plants in spring or early summer can be multiplied by making semi-woody cuttings; in spring it is also possible to propagate the corpus florida by sowing, using the seeds of the previous year. The best method of multiplication is margarine, but it is possible to obtain new shrubs using the new offshoots.
Pests and diseases
This small tree is frequently affected by cochineal and red spiders and can become ill with white sickness. However, it is a very resistant type of plant to attack by pests and diseases, while it is more afraid of water stagnation that can form in the soil and that can lead to rotting roots.
Bark, leaves, flowers
The attractiveness of this tree is linked to many factors. First of all, it is appreciated for the beautiful rounded shape of its foliage, accompanied by numerous lateral branches that grow almost parallel to the ground. Even in the bad season, it is interesting for the colour of its bark: initially it is greenish, with red hues. It then becomes a beautiful medium grey, deeply fissured.
Another strong point is the leaves: oval in shape, they come from a beautiful deep green to turn yellow in summer and become a spectacular orange before falling.
If this is not enough there is the beautiful flowering of early spring, on the branches still without leaves. What is particularly attractive are the large bracts, white in the species, pink or red in some cultivars. In autumn, red berries will follow, which are also very ornamental and have the advantage of attracting a great many birds.
Planting and cultivation care
The best time for planting is mid-autumn, choosing plants provided with bread of earth. In addition to the previous recommendations we add that it is necessary that the chosen area is large: the roots grow horizontally and will occupy an area equal to that of the canopy. Being very superficial we will have to take particular care when carrying out normal maintenance: let’s adjust the lawnmower high enough to avoid damage.
Moreover, we do not use tools such as lawn trimmers or brush cutters: cuts in the root system or trunk, even superficial, can cause serious damage.
Pruning is not necessary, unless there are poorly directed or not very vigorous branches.
Soil care and fertilisation
In order to keep the soil soft, it is important to provide a large quantity of organic matter (vegetable, compost or floured manure) every year around October. Let’s avoid removing the leaves that fell to the ground at the end of autumn: they will decompose quickly and will support this need. It is always useful to distribute a good dose of iron sulphate in the area and, in the case of chlorosis, chelated iron.
The growth is never very fast, but to support it is good to distribute, at the end of winter, a specific fertilizer for acidophilic.
Cornelian – Cornus florida: Varieties and cultivars of Cornus Florida
Due to their great success, breeders have created a large number of varieties: some of them have particularly coloured bracts, while others are characterised by the colouring of their foliage.
“Cherokee chief It has intense red bracts, up to 6 m
Daybreak’. has green-grey leaves with red autumn margins, white bracts.
Clond Nine large overlapping white bracts, blooms even when young.
Steal has pink bracts. It is available in various cultivars: Spring song (bright pink), Sunset (leaves suffused with red, then yellow at the edges).
Rainbow’. medium green leaf with yellow margins and pink tones. In autumn orange, red and purple.
- The cornus is a rustic plant which means that it is extremely robust to external factors. From this follows c
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