Cayenne Silky DogwoodCornus amomum 'Cayenne'
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Cornus amomum 'Cayenne'
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The Cayenne Silky Dogwood is a new red-twigged dogwood that is ideal for hotter regions where the traditional red-twig dogwood does not grow well. It has long, bright red young twigs, and makes a lovely garden feature during the winter months, when there is always a shortage of color in the garden. It grows into a broad shrub, reaching 6 to 8 feet tall, and up to 10 feet across, but it can be kept smaller by regular hard pruning. As well as the red twigs, this shrub has attractive small white flowers in early summer, followed by berries in a unique shade of china blue. These are attractive to birds and wildlife, and this plant is ideal for more natural areas of the garden.
The Cayenne Silky Dogwood will grow well in most soils that are not too dry, and it is a perfect choice for wetter areas too, such as along streams, or around ponds or lakes. It grows well in all light conditions, from full sun to full shade, making it ideal for difficult wet and shady parts of the garden, or for regular areas where you need a larger shrub to fill bigger spaces. It has no significant pests or diseases and it is very easy to grow. Trimming in spring and early summer will encourage lots of new twigs, which have the best red bark coloring. It can also be pruned back to the ground every few years, to maintain a smaller size for smaller gardens.
Red twig dogwoods are wonderful plants for color in the garden from late fall to the early spring – just when color is at a premium. The most commonly seen ones grow best in cooler areas, and if you live in zone 7 or 8, they will not be at their best, and you may have pest and disease problems. Instead, choose a newer and exciting red twig dogwood of a different species, more adapted to hotter regions – the Cayenne Silky Dogwood.
Even if you live in zones 5 and 6, the greater height of this plant makes it the perfect choice for a larger background plant, or to fill larger areas of your garden. It grows well in both normal and wet garden soils, so it is a great choice around a pond or along a stream bank. Like other red-twig dogwoods, this is an American native shrub, and so it is ideal for gardeners who like to avoid exotic plants, and instead choose to grow a natural garden of American plants.
The Cayenne Silky Dogwood is a shrub growing 6 to 8 feet tall, or even taller in time, depending on how it is pruned. It spreads into a wide shrub up to 10 feet across, so this is a plant for larger gardens and large spaces. It has an open, rounded form, an what makes it unique is the red color of the younger branches, in comparison with the normal purple-brown of this tree when growing in the wild. These bright-red stems make this plant really stand out in your garden in the winter months, and this attractive shrub brings interest and color just when most other plants are without flowers, or leafless and dull.
Plant a specimen where it can be seen from a window in winter, or use it in groups to fill large areas, especially in difficult, damp and shady spots. Wherever you plant it you will enjoy an attractive green background plant all summer, blue berries in early fall, and dynamic red twigs all winter, on an easy-care plant.
The leaves of the Cayenne Silky Dogwood are oval, slightly glossy and smooth, between 2 and 5 inches long, and medium green, with prominent veins. The underside of the leaves – and the young twigs – are covered in fine white hairs, which give the shrub its common name of silky dogwood. The flowers appear in late spring or early summer, and they are small, without the large, colored bracts seen in the flowering dogwoods. Nonetheless they are quietly attractive, forming a cluster of yellow-white flowers 2½ inches across. These are followed by clusters of berries which begin white and by late August turn a striking and unusual blue color, close to the color of Willow pattern china plates. Birds also find them attractive, so the berries are usually not around for too long. Your local birds will thank you for the feast, though.
The Cayenne Silky Dogwood will grow from zone 5 to zone 8, and it grows best in the warmer zones. It is happy in any ordinary to moist soil, and it will also grow well in completely wet areas, such as along streams and around ponds. It likes soils with plenty of organic material in them, but you can grow this plant successfully in most garden soils that are not too dry. It will grow in full sun if the soil is wet, and otherwise it grows best in light shade. It will also grow in full shade, making it an ideal choice for those difficult, shady parts of your garden.
When grown in ordinary garden conditions, mulch over the root zone area with a 2 to 4-inch layer of organic material in spring. This will conserve moisture, keep the roots cooler, and encourage good growth. The red twig color is most pronounced on new shoots, so trimming this plant anytime from spring to the end of July will encourage new shoots with the best coloring. Harder pruning in early spring will keep this plant smaller, if you wish. You can also cut it back to the ground every third year, to produce a more compact plant with long shoots and lots of winter color.
The silky dogwood (Cornus amomum) is a North American native plant, growing all through the north-eastern states, from Ohio to Alabama. It is most abundant in the South, where it grows wild along streams and river banks. The unique red-twigged form called ‘Cayenne’ was found growing in a beaver swamp in Fancy Gap, Virginia, by Dr. Michael Dirr, the famous plant expert from Georgia University. He took samples home, and then grew them for three years to test its suitability for gardens.
This new plant has only recently been released to nurseries, and it is expected to be in high demand in southern areas in particular, where many gardeners have envied the northerners for their red-twig dogwoods. Our stock will soon be sold, so order now and grow this spectacular plant in your own garden, to enjoy those greatly-loved bright red winter twigs.
The best time to plant the Cayenne Silky Dogwood is in the early spring or fall. This allows the plant to establish its root system before the hot summer months or harsh winter conditions. However, due to its hardiness, it can be planted at any time of the year as long as you provide it with adequate water and care.
The Cayenne Silky Dogwood enjoys moist soil conditions. If you’re planting it in a normal garden soil, it’s recommended to water it regularly, especially during dry spells. However, if it’s planted in a wet area such as along a stream or around a pond, it may not need additional watering. Always check the soil moisture levels before watering.
One of the great advantages of the Cayenne Silky Dogwood is its resistance to pests and diseases. It’s a very hardy plant that doesn’t typically suffer from the common issues that can plague other garden plants. However, like any plant, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for any changes in its health and consult with a local nursery or extension service if you notice anything unusual.
Due to its size, the Cayenne Silky Dogwood is typically grown in the ground. However, with regular pruning to maintain a smaller size, it could potentially be grown in a large pot. Keep in mind that it would require a pot with sufficient drainage and would likely need more frequent watering than if it were planted in the ground.
The Cayenne Silky Dogwood is a low-maintenance plant. Regular pruning in the spring and early summer can help to encourage new growth and maintain the vibrant red color of the twigs. If you want to keep the plant smaller, you can prune it back to the ground every few years. Other than that, it requires little care and is resistant to most common pests and diseases.
The Cayenne Silky Dogwood is quite adaptable when it comes to soil conditions. It prefers soil that is moist and rich in organic matter, but it can tolerate a range of soil types, from normal garden soil to wetter areas. The only condition it doesn’t thrive in is dry soil. So, as long as the soil is kept adequately moist, the Cayenne Silky Dogwood should do well.
The Cayenne Silky Dogwood is a moderately fast-growing shrub. With ideal conditions, it can reach its mature height of 6 to 8 feet in just a few years. However, the growth rate can vary depending on the specific growing conditions, including sunlight, soil type, and watering practices.
Yes, the Cayenne Silky Dogwood is a hardy plant that can tolerate frost. It is a deciduous shrub, meaning it loses its leaves in the fall and goes dormant during the winter months. It can survive in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 8, which includes areas that experience frost and cold winter temperatures.
Yes, the Cayenne Silky Dogwood is a great plant for attracting wildlife to your garden. In late summer, it produces clusters of blue berries that are a favorite of many bird species. The flowers also attract pollinators, making it a great choice for a wildlife-friendly garden.
The Cayenne Silky Dogwood is a long-lived shrub. With proper care and in the right conditions, it can thrive in your garden for many years. Its lifespan can be extended through regular pruning and care, ensuring it stays healthy and vibrant throughout the years.