The Empress of China Dogwood Is the Tree Your Yard Is Missing
Flowering dogwood trees are hallmarks of Southern landscaping. These year-round growers are known to produce dazzling blooms in spring and summer, along with showy foliage in the fall. The state of Virginia loved dogwoods so much that they named it their official tree. Flowering dogwoods (or Cornus florida), are the most widely recognized type of this classic tree, but the genus offers a diverse array of selections with unique characteristics.
One of our favorites? The ornamental Empress of China dogwood. This evergreen tree is a native of Japan, Korea, and China. It produces clusters of large, creamy white blooms in late spring and summer; then later throughout the season, it produces translucent ruby, strawberry-like fruits. Growing up to 18 feet tall and 15 feet wide, the Empress of China is an impressive accent tree. The Empress of China performs best in zones US, MS, and LS and USDA 6-8.
This low-maintenance tree doesn’t require pruning and needs only to be fertilized once a year in early spring. It’s hardy to -10 degrees Fahrenheit, so it can withstand the a rare brutal Southern winter. Plant it in a spot that get full sun and part shade, especially with protection from the hot afternoon sun.
The Empress of China dogwood available through the Southern Living Plant Collection and can be ordered online and then delivered to your door. Once you’ve received your tree, choose a partly shade spot for it in your front or back yard. Dig a hole that’s three times the size of the tree’s original pot. Then backfill and plant 1 to 2 inches above the soil. The tree grows best in moist, well-drained soil that’s been amended with organic matter. After planting, add a layer of mulch to protect moisture and keep the soil cool.