“Milky Way” dogwood is covered in star-shaped flowers that open lime green and quickly change to a creamy white. (Richie Steffen)

“Milky Way” dogwood is covered in star-shaped flowers that open lime green and quickly change to a creamy white. (Richie Steffen)

Great Plant Pick: Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘Milky Way’, Chinese dogwood

This dogwood is covered in star-shaped flowers that open lime green and quickly change to a creamy white.

What: Cornus kousa var. chinensis “Milky Way” was selected for is large flowers and prolific bloom. In June, star-shaped flowers open lime green and quickly change to a creamy white. The flowers can be so numerous you can hardly see any green leaves! In late summer, bright red strawberry-like fruits hang from the branches until autumn turns the leaves deep red and scarlet. This small- to medium-sized tree has a graceful and refined layered branching pattern and older trees show a flaking patchwork of gray, tan and green on the trunk. This Chinese dogwood is resistant to dogwood anthracnose, the disease that affects our native dogwood.

Where: Plant this slow growing tree in a moist, well-drained soil with full sun to light or open shade. It can be adaptable to sandy soils and clay with regular watering during dry weather.

Size: Chinese dogwood will grow to be 30 feet tall with a spread of 25 feet when mature.

Care: The lovely layered form of “Milky Way” can easily be ruined by pruning. Consult an experienced pruner or take local classes before attempting to prune.

— Richie Steffen, Great Plant Picks

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