Tree Profiles: Kousa Dogwood Cultivars, Part 2 (Cornus Kousa)

This is the second part of a series on Kousa dogwood cultivars.


Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa), also referred to as Benthamia kousa, Cynoxylon kousa, Chinese dogwood, Kousa, Korean dogwood, and Japanese dogwood is a popular ornamental tree or shrub that is commonly selected for planting in various settings. Over time, many varieties of Kousa dogwood have been introduced, with each one exhibiting characteristic traits. The following describes some of the most unique Kousa dogwood cultivars, including ‘Lustgarten Weeping’, ‘Little Beauty’, ‘Milky Way’, and ‘Satomi’.

‘Lustgarten Weeping’: ‘Lustgarten Weeping’ dogwood is a large multi-stemmed shrub or small deciduous tree that is renown for its characteristic rounded, weeping growth habit. It reaches heights of 10 to 15 feet, with a width of 5 to 10 feet. ‘Lustgarten Weeping’ dogwood forms cascading branches that yield clusters of white flowers in late spring. This resplendent floral display persists for several weeks before fading. Red berries develop on the branches in fall, and attract birds, which feed on them. The leaves are pointed, and turn an appealing dark red in fall.

‘Little Beauty’: ‘Little Beauty’ dogwood is a large shrub or small deciduous tree. This cultivar grows quickly, reaching up to 15 feet in height, with a 10 to 15 foot spread. It establishes small, multi-stemmed branches that combine to form a dense canopy. In spring, a profusion of petite white flowers develop on the branches, creating a striking floral display. The leaves produced by ‘Little Beauty’ are light to medium green. Due to its compact size, ‘Little Beauty’ is ideal for growing in small gardens. It may also be grown as a container plant.

‘Milky Way’: ‘Milky Way’ dogwood is one of the most popular Kousa dogwood varieties. It is a small tree, growing up to 20 feet tall and wide once fully matured. ‘Milky Way’ dogwood has a dense canopy, with branches that develop pointed, dark green leaves. In autumn, the leaves turn a gorgeous orange-red to scarlet shade. ‘Milky Way’ dogwood also features attractive tan and gray bark that becomes mottled and exfoliating as the tree ages. In summer, a profusion of star-like creamy white flowers form on the branches. Large red berries become conspicuous in fall. Birds will often flock to the berries to consume them.

‘Satomi’: ‘Satomi’ dogwood, sometimes sold as ‘Rosabella’ dogwood, is a small tree with an upright, spreading growth habit. This cultivar typically reaches 12 to 20 feet in height and width. ‘Satomi’ dogwood is notable for its flower bracts that range from light pink to a deeper, rosier pink in coloration. Each tree’s color is determined by irs geographic location, and environmental conditions. The flowers that form on ‘Satomi’ dogwood tend to be profuse, and typically bloom by mid-summer. ‘Satomi’ dogwood also forms appealing dark green foliage, which turns various shades of red in fall.