Cornus kousa 'Rutpink' SCARLET FIRE®

Cornus kousa 'Rutpink'
Cornus kousa 'Rutpink' SCARLET FIRE®
Japanese dogwood
SIZE/TYPE taller shrub
LEAVES deciduous broadleaf
COLOUR OF FLOWERS +multicolored:pink and deep pink
LOCATION full sun
SOIL TYPE acidic (peaty)
SOIL MOISTURE REQUIREMENTS evenly moist (dislikes drought)
USDA zone (lowest) 5   (down to -29°C)
FOR ZONE 5+6 Code of winter protection zone 5+6
FOR ZONE 7 Code of winter protection zone 7
BELONGS TO CATEGORIES Deciduous broadleaf
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Following Dr.Elwin Orton's success with Stellar Pink® disease-resistant hybrid dogwood with pale pink flowers from 1988, his student Thomas Molnar of Rutgers State University in New Jersey continues with his work after Orton's retirement in 2008, and breeds a richer pink flowering plant that is discovered among numerous trial plants in Rutger's horticultural farm in New Brunswick in spring of 2012. It was patented as Rutpink in 2015, PP28311, and marketed as SCARLET FIRE®. First plants were in garden centres since 2017.

SCARLET FIRE® is a proper Japanese dogwood, not a hybrid, so a plant which flowers later than American dogwoods, on already leafed-out trees (shrubs). The flowers are in fact bracts. There are 4, rich magenta pink, oval, sharply pointed bracts, composed around a small flower head, about 13 cm across. It is very floriferous once it reaches good flowering age. It blooms from late May until June.

Pointed leaves are deciduous, ovate, drooping like pear tree leaves, dark green with burgundy hues when young, and making the same impressive display of autumn colours – vivid red to bright burgundy - as other dogwoods.

SCARLET FIRE® dogwood grows upright and bushy into a large shrub or a small tree if bottom branches are removed. Pruning is not needed. But if you want to shape it or reduce its size do so as soon as possible after flowering so it can set buds for the following year. It is resistant to diseases and borers.

It will look its best when planted as a free-standing specimen. Its numerous, divine flowers will then have the undivided attention in late spring and you will be able to enjoy the structure of a densely leaved plant until autumn. If however your aim is to have it in a group, consider the companions carefully. We suggest combining it with compact or dwarf, or even ground-covering plants only, so that each plant has its attention. Yakushimanum rhododendrons, dwarf conifers, and/or evergreen groundcovers could do the job.

Every dogwood likes acidic soil, rich in organic material, and always moist. Some gardeners advise planting it in semi-shade to reduce summer sunlight but we do not recommend that. Plant it in full sun and mulch the roots well. In dry spells provide extra watering and thus you can be sure your dogwood will flower profusely and will be richer and healthier. Use of selective fertilizers supporting flowering and leaf colour is advised. Fully hardy to about -29°C (USDA zone 5).

Last update 24-01-2018

Cornus kousa
Cornus kousa
  • STANDARD QUALITY - Plants of this group are 1st class quality with number of branches and overall density adequate to their size and age, considering they were container grown.
  • DE LUXE QUALITY - This label guarantees a luxurious quality of manually selected plants that, compared to their height and age, are exceptionally dense and beautiful.
  • EXTRA - These plants are usually mature and bigger specimens with exceptional overall appearance.
  • STANDARD (as described in the plant form) means a tree with a trunk of 190-210 cm and a crown at the top, unless specified differently. The commercial size for trees is their girth measured in the height of 1m from ground.
  • HOBBY - These plants are of the same quality as our standard-quality plants but younger and therefore cheaper.
  • SHRUB - a woody plant with branches growing bushy from the ground level.
  • HALF-STANDARD or MINI-STANDARD - a small tree with shorter trunk, its size is usually specified.
  • FEATHERED - These are trees with branches growing already from the base of the trunk and up along the stem.
  • GRASSES and PERENNIALS - Sizes given usually read the diameter of the pot or the clump, as specified.
LARGE PLANTS over 150 cmspecimens, screening and hedging shrubs

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