One of the most beautiful of all garden plants that curiously remains relatively little known or planted. In time Cornus controversa variegata will grow in a very large shrub, or even a small tree, of exceptional elegance, grace and beauty. In many respects it can be compared to Cornus alternifolia 'Argentea', but it is larger overall and the leaves are much larger, leading on the whole to a bolder statement in the garden.
Layered branches carry deep green, somewhat pendulous, leaves which have irregualr creamy-white margins, followed by red-purple colours in the autumn.
Masses of lightly fragrant small creamy-white flowers are held elegantly above the foliage in early summer. In autumn an establsihed plant will produce a splendid crop of deep red fruit that will mature to blue-black.
Will grow well in either full sun or partial shade, and will do best on richer soils that do not get very dry in the summer; mulching in the spring with well rooted garden compost or manure will help retain moisture. We have had no problem growing specimens in large pots - provided of course due attention is given to regular feeding and of course watering through the summer. Pruning should really be kep to a minimum, other than to perhaps to remove the odd wayward growth that is not contributing to the 'wedding cake tree' effect.
Cornus controversa 'Variegata' is fully hardy, but its habit of coming into leaf does leave it open to superficial frost damage - for that reason avoid planting in frost pockets. In our experience in East Anglia this is only a marginal issue and no reason not to plant one in the garden. Perhaps this will be one of the plants that will start to be seen more frequently in the UK as our climate warms up. Native to China, Japan and the Himalayas, Cornus controversa 'Variegata' was introduced into horticulture in the 1896. H:5-7m