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Variegated Pagoda Dogwood

Cornus alternifolia 'Argentea'

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Variegated Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia 'Argentea') at Sargent's Gardens

Variegated Pagoda Dogwood

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Variegated Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia 'Argentea') at Sargent's Gardens

Variegated Pagoda Dogwood foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  15 feet

Spread:  20 feet

Sunlight:  full sun  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  4a


A spectacular plant for color effect in northern landscapes, featuring showy variegated leaves on almost "oriental" horizontal branches; white flowers in spring, blue berries in summer; quite fussy, needs a cool sheltered site, also prefers acidic soil

Ornamental Features

The Variegated Pagoda Dogwood has clusters of fragrant creamy white flowers held atop the branches in late spring. It has attractive white-variegated green foliage which emerges light green in spring. The pointy leaves are highly ornamental but do not develop any appreciable fall color. It produces navy blue berries in mid summer.

Landscape Attributes

The Variegated Pagoda Dogwood is an open multi-stemmed deciduous tree with a stunning habit of growth which features almost oriental horizontally-tiered branches. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and usually looks its best without pruning, although it will tolerate pruning. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

The Variegated Pagoda Dogwood is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • General Garden Use
  • Naturalizing And Woodland Gardens

Planting & Growing

The Variegated Pagoda Dogwood will grow to be about 15 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 20 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This tree performs well in both full sun and full shade. However, you may want to keep it away from hot, dry locations that receive direct afternoon sun or which get reflected sunlight, such as against the south side of a white wall. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth, but will die in standing water. It is particular about its soil conditions, with a strong preference for rich, acidic soils. It is quite intolerant of urban pollution, therefore inner city or urban streetside plantings are best avoided, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selection of a native North American species.

Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight Soil pH Preference
Accent  Garden  Naturalizing 
Flowers  Fruit  Foliage Color  Plant Form  Winter Value  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features