Plant of the Week: ARCTIC FIRE® Yellow Red-twig Dogwood

Dormant Arctic Fire® Yellow red-twig dogwood sporting vibrant yellow stems in the landscape

Plant Native for Earth Day and Every Day!

With Earth Day coming up on Monday, I want to encourage you to consider native plants for your garden. Not only are they beneficial for native wildlife and pollinators, but there are also so many stunning native plants that are incredibly low-maintenance. Proven Winners® ColorChoice® offers many native shrubs that have been selected to be more friendly to residential landscapes while maintaining their pollinator and wildlife-friendly qualities. One of those shrubs is Arctic Fire® Yellow red-twig dogwood (Cornus sericea), which, like Arctic Fire® Red, has a more compact habit than conventional red-twig dogwood.

Close up of the white flowers of Arctic Fire Yellow red-twig dogwood

Yes, Arctic Fire® Yellow’s name is a bit confusing because it is a red-twig dogwood, but with vivid yellow stems rather than the usual red. While the cheery stems may be the highlight of this plant for humans, that’s not all this shrub offers. In spring, white flowers emerge for pollinators to enjoy, followed by white berries that birds will happily gobble up. It’s a durable plant that looks fabulous on its own or mixed with Arctic Fire® Red for some contrast. The colorful stems make great additions to holiday arrangements as well!

This is a very cold-tolerant plant suited for USDA zones 2-7, which is great because every drab, cool-climate winter could use a little bit of color. Arctic Fire® Yellow can grow in a range of sun exposures, from part sun (with a minimum of four hours of sun) to full sun (all-day sun exposure). While conventional red-twig dogwoods can get 8-10’ tall and wide, Arctic Fire® Yellow stays 4-5’ tall and 6’ wide. This durable shrub is also deer-resistant.  

Arctic Fire® Yellow benefits from pruning to maintain its yellow stem color, which is most vivid on juvenile growth. There are a couple of ways you can go about pruning red-twig dogwood. One way is to remove one-third of the oldest, thickest stems all the way back to the ground while the plant is dormant in winter (you can then use those stems in arrangements, so it’s a win-win!). The second way is to cut the entire plant down each spring, but just keep in mind that this will remove flowers. 

To Plant or Not to Plant

Okay, so you’ve heard about this amazing shrub, and you’re ready to get it in the ground, but you may be wondering when the best time to plant it is. That will largely depend on where you’re located and what time of year it is, so check out Kristina’s “When should I plant a garden?” blog to learn about planting in each season.

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