Flowering dogwoods are among the most beautiful flowering trees of spring, and no garden should be without them. As well, using colored foliage has become a great way to add color in all the seasons, not just for the weeks of flowering. So when we saw the Little Ruby™ Dogwood we knew this was something we wanted to make available to our customers, because it combines the best of these features – gorgeous pink spring flowers, rich red spring foliage, and spectacular maroon fall colors too. All this on a compact tree that is perfect for big or small gardens – what more could we ask for?
Growing Little Ruby™ Dogwoods
The Little Ruby™ Dogwood grows into a small tree or large shrub, 8 to 12 feet across, spreading to a slightly greater width. The fun starts in spring, when the new shoots emerge, as they are not plain green, but rich red, and the glossy leaves glow in the sunlight. In late spring the branches are smothered in large flowers that are rich pink, which has a far more dramatic impact in your garden than the common white flowering dogwoods do. These ‘flowers’ are called bracts – leaves modified to resemble petals. There are normally four or five or these on a flowering dogwood, but in this variety they are increased to about 10, making the flower look even richer than usual. In the center of these bracts you will see a cluster of very small round flowers, and from these, red seeds will develop by late summer. These are attractive, adding another feature to this fabulous tree, but birds love them too and they don’t last long. Still, you are helping your local wildlife, which is always a good thing.
During the summer the leaves turn green, but their veins remain deep red from the spring color. New shoots will also be deep red for some weeks before turning green. Then, when cooler weather arrives in fall the leaves take on spectacular shades of deep maroon red, looking fabulous against other fall trees in their yellows and oranges. In warmer zones these red leaves stay on the plant for months, sometimes not falling until the new crop of leaves has developed. In cooler areas they fall, revealing the intricate tracery of the branches.
Plant the Little Ruby™ Dogwood in a sunny or partially shaded spot in your garden. “In cooler areas more sun, in hotter ones more shade”, is the simple rule to follow. This tree will make a spectacular specimen on a lawn, or among other flowering shrubs in beds around your garden. Plant one in a corner of any garden to fill a space and bring beauty too. It grows well in the light shade from large deciduous trees, planted perhaps some distance from them, but still in their shadow. This is like the places that dogwoods are found growing naturally, and it is perfect for an informal semi-natural garden.
Care and Maintenance
The Little Ruby™ Dogwood grows best in moist but well-drained soil, preferring plenty of organic material added to the soil, and used as mulch in later years. Its complex breeding gives it lots of vigor, and this fast-growing and reliable tree has no significant pests or diseases. You can prune away some of the smaller lower branches to create a single trunk, or two or three trunks for a broader plant, or leave it to grow naturally as a large shrub, which will become more tree-like as it matures. It needs very little care once it is established, and you will love the ever-changing picture it brings to your garden.
History and Origins of the Little Ruby™ Dogwood
In many universities and colleges across the country, new plants are being bred, and this is how the Little Ruby™ Dogwood came to be. Dr. Thomas G Ranney, at North Carolina State University took two different dogwood trees – Cornus hongkongensis, a beautiful Asian species from China and Vietnam, and crossed it with a variety of another Asian dogwood, Cornus kousa, called `Satomi`. Although both of these plants have white flowers and green leaves, when he raised further seedlings from the first plants he had created, among all those seedlings was one with beautiful pink flowers and deep red spring leaves. This was what he was looking for, and he named it ‘NCCH1’ when he took out a patent on it is 2016.
This plant is very new, and still scarce, but of course it has been tested since 2007, and grown in many areas, before being released, and its vigor and garden worthiness has been thoroughly proven. We are confident you will love this fabulous new plant, but like all new plants the supply cannot hope to match the demand. So order now, because our limited stock will soon be gone.