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Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter fire'

A few weeks ago, I bought some small plants and planted in my border. I added plenty of leaf mould and rotted manure, but since planting they have started looking a bit sad. They have lost some leaves, and the tops of the stems have gone brown. They have been kept well watered and are in partial shade. 

Any ideas on what I can do to cheer them up? I initially thought the stems had been nibbled by rabbits. Should I prune the dying bits of stems? Is there anything I can feed them with? Or do I just need to be patient and let them get going in their own time. 




  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 26,984

    I have two of these. One has never given a moment's trouble, the other is about to be put though the shredder.

    I think they're a weak cultivar. beautiful if everything is right but quick to look poor. Your brown stems I know well, also very anaemic looking leaves early in the season which the good one has to some extent.

    I'd give it time, don't let it dry out but don't overdo it. Don't feed an invalid. You've given it a good start.

    You might as well cut off the dead bits, it will lokk better for that

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • PoddingtonPPoddingtonP Posts: 196

    Yep, I have anaemic leaves too. I think seeing the amazing looking ones in the winter walk at Harlow Carr has made me set my expectations a bit high.  How long is it likely to take to get a decent sized plant? I assumed the beautiful bright stems would be just one season's growth, before they went woody, but can't see that happening this year. 

    Thanks for the advice nut. If they don't recover I might have to get a tougher cultivar.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 26,984

    They're not strong enough growers to cut back every year like some.

    But nothing else has that stunning colour does it.

    There's fine stand of them at Anglesey Abbey. Look brilliant in the sunshine.

    Mine good one is about 10 foot tall, maybe 15 years inplace. never been cut, it's gone naturally into a horizontal layer look like some cornus do and I don't want to lose that

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Fluffy CloudFluffy Cloud Posts: 200

    My 'midwinter fire' is about 2 years old. Looking quite sad...some dead tips of branches..tidied the whole plant up and 'talked' to it. I'm hoping this will pick up as the season goes.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,818

    I bought two of these and, once I realised they don't take to heavy pruning like their alba sibirica cousins, they both settled down and have been very happy.  These days I trim them lightly and occasionally remove whole stems but never more than a third at a time.

    They are so happy they have suckered so at the front I am constantly removing babies which I pot up to give away or sell at an anuual charity plant fair.  The one at the back was moved 4 years ago so I had a better view of it in winter from the sofa.   It produced 12 babies from bits of root left behind in its old site.  I replanted those in a new bed I made over on the far end of my garden.  This year I found 7 new babies in the old site and have given them all away.

    Moral?  These things sucker like mad so beware and they should be sold with a warning and at very low prices.   Definitely not a premium plant that's hard to propagate.


    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • glad it's not just mine that looks rubbish! I bought one last autumn and it's looked very poorly ever since. Many stems went black, leaves looked poorly too. I've cut off all the black stem ends, and it's finally starting to perk up a bit, but compared to the bright green/yellow dogwood i got at the same time they are like chalk and cheese.

    There might be something in the not liking damp so much, maybe the wet winter had it's tole.. fingers crossed it gets established this summer.

  • star gaze lilystar gaze lily Posts: 17,083

    I have three, two of which are looking pretty sad at the moment.

    Can anyone tell me when I can lift them and put them somewhere else in the garden to see if  they grow any better please.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 26,984

    I'd do it when dormant but if you think it's getting too hot and dry now it might be worth risking a move. Better than losing it.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
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