'Cherokee Princess' Flowering Dogwood
Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Princess’
‘Cherokee Princess’ probably received its name due to its being both native American and beautiful, with a profuse crown of white flowers in spring. This cultivar, hardy in USDA zones 5-9, blooms at a younger age and more heavily than the species variety, growing 15 to 30 feet tall and wide. As with most dogwoods its 3 to 5-inch “flowers” actually are made up of showy white leaf bracts surrounding the insignificant real blooms. Clusters of red berries, attractive to birds and other wildlife, follow those blooms.
The foliage of this dogwood emerges burgundy after the tree flowers, matures to green, then reverts to brick red in the fall. The branches are silver, the trunk’s bark a mosaic of bumpy gray “tiles.”
Culture: Dogwoods prefer humus rich, acidic, and well-drained soil. Give them 2 to 4 inches of mulch, keeping it away from their trunks, to ensure that their roots stay cool and moist. The trees may suffer from chlorosis in overly alkaline ground. Oriental varieties tolerate full sun, but most dogwoods prefer morning sun followed by afternoon shade. Because they flower on old wood, prune them shortly after that flowering to avoid cutting off potential blooms.
The trees generally are vase-shaped when young, but mature to a more rounded silhouette. Native varieties can be subject to anthracnose and other fungus diseases, so rake up and dispose of all their leaves in the fall and prune the tree only when it is dry to avoid spreading spores.