Cornus sanguinea

Orange stems of Cornus sanguinea.
  • Common name: Dogwood ‘Midwinter Fire’
  • Type: Deciduous shrub
  • Height and spread: 2 m in 5 years
  • Soil: Well-drained to moisture retentive soil
  • Aspect: Sun or light shade
  • Hardiness: Fully hardy
  • Care: Easy
  • A deciduous shrub grown for its brightly coloured stems in winter.

Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ as its name suggests really comes into its own in winter when it has shed its pale green leaves to reveal brightly coloured orange/red stems.  Even on a dull winter’s day this shrub will lighten any border.  Caught in the rays of late winter sunshine it positively glows.

Plant against a dark evergreen such as Taxus baccata (Yew) or Osmanthus x Burkwoodii (Burkwood osmanthus) to allow it to show off its stems.  Or, an island bed with other Cornus varieties and winter shrubs such as Hamamelis (witch hazel) and early spring bulbs for a winter interest border.

Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ is an easy shrub to care for.  The newest growth has the strongest colour.  To encourage new growth and to keep the shrub in good shape remove between a half and third of the wood every couple of years, pruning back to approximately 50 cm from the plant base any time from late February to April.

Cut stems look good in the house and winter flower arrangements.  Hang a few baubles from the twiggy branches and you have an impromptu and stylish Christmas decoration.