Why the Celestial® Rutgers Dogwood?
East meets West in this healthy, robust Rutgers Hybrid Dogwood tree that’s easy for even novice gardeners to grow. Celestial® Dogwood (a.k.a. ‘Galaxy’) is a small, upright, ornamental tree that will grace your landscape with loads of large snow-white flowers in spring and ruby-red foliage in fall. Blooming as its Flowering Dogwood “father” fades and before its Japanese Kousa Dogwood “mother” begins, the hybrid Celestial® bridges the gap between these two heavy hitters of spring and looks sweet with irises and columbines planted at its feet.
Forty years ago America’s beloved Flowering Dogwood tree—considered by many to be America’s favorite flowering tree—was threatened by a one-two punch of a pest called Dogwood borer and a disease called Dogwood anthracnose. In the 1970s, legendary plant breeder Dr. Elwin Orton of Rutgers University devised a plan to improve the disease resistance of Flowering Dogwood by hybridizing it with the naturally disease-resistant Asian “Kousa” Dogwood. Dr. Orton’s brilliant program has yielded a bumper crop of fantastic new hybrid Dogwood trees for the garden, including Celestial® Dogwood, the first introduction. It may sound a little funny to think of a tree as an “invention,” but Dr. Orton was inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame in 2012 for his visionary work.
How to use in the landscape?
This is a hybrid between Florida and Kousa Dogwoods. It is very vigorous, blooms heavily, and is resistant to the common Dogwood problems. Large flower bracts open pure white and appear after florida blooms but before kousa blooms. No fruit is produced on this dapper specimen, and it will dress up your front entryway or patio with style, without overwhelming the space.
Hardiness Zone: 5-9
Mature Height: 20' tall
Mature Width: 20' wide
Exposure: Full Sun/Part Shade
Spacing: 15-20' apart
How To Plant
Because the Celestial® Dogwood tree has such an excellent genetic makeup, several common Dogwood problems are essentially eliminated. The risk of this hybrid tree contracting the anthracnose or borer issues that purebred Flowering Dogwoods sometimes succumb to is virtually nil. All that is left for you to do is to make sure this tree is satisfied in its cultural requirements. Regular irrigation and freely draining soil are the biggies—Rutgers Dogwoods don’t like to dry out, but they can’t sit for too long with “wet feet.” Full sun or light shade is best.
How To Water
Water weekly, or better yet, use the Bower & Branch® Water Element to deliver just the right amount of moisture to your tree throughout the growing season.
How To Fertilize
Incorporate Elements Starter Plant food granular form into the soil when planting. If planting in spring or summer, start fertilizing late fall using Elements Starter Plant food granular form on an annual basis each late fall. Continue this for the first three years to get your plant well established.
How To Prune
Pruning may not be needed but is best done shortly after the flowers are spent.
Hardiness Zone: 5-9