Why plant Starlight® Dogwood?
Just when you thought Dogwood trees couldn’t be any more beautiful, Starlight® Dogwood comes along and raises the bar. This newly released hybrid tree flaunts a profusion of pristine white five-inch flowers in spring. Even young trees are loaded with the oversized blooms, and the show only gets better each year. Starlight® Dogwood’s dense branching habit makes this uncommon mid-sized tree a wonderful privacy screen along your property line, though you’ll probably want to showcase it front-and-center in your front yard. And, as it is immune to powdery mildew and anthracnose (common Dogwood diseases), Starlight® isn’t only a pretty choice, but a smart one!
Dr. Elwin Orton’s brilliant Dogwood breeding program at Rutgers University has yielded a bumper crop of fantastic new hybrid trees for the garden. His Kousa Dogwood × Flowering Dogwood crosses (such as Celestial®) receive all the attention—however, Starlight® is different. This showstopper is a cross between the Japanese Kousa Dogwood and our native Pacific Dogwood of the West Coast. Dr. Orton made the cross back in 1973, but didn’t release Starlight® to the public until 2004. After 30 years of observation, the original tree was healthy and robust and had never fallen prey to any insect pest or disease.
How to use Starlight® Dogwood in the landscape?
Starlight® Dogwood is the first-ever cross between the Japanese Kousa Dogwood and the American Pacific Dogwood. It is similar to the offspring of another cross of this type, Venus®Dogwood, but it’s not quite so over-the-top (Venus® has six-inch flowers!). Starlight® also starts blooming about a week before Venus®.
Hardiness Zone: 6-9
How To Plant Starlight® Dogwood
Hybrid trees often show what is known as “hybrid vigor,” which usually translates to fast growth, disease resistance, and larger flowers. Starlight® Hybrid Dogwood is no exception. This stellar tree will give you lots of bang for your buck and is low maintenance to boot. Like most Dogwoods, Starlight® prefers a site in full sun to part shade. Starlight® is hardy to -10°F, but flower production is best where winter temperatures don’t fall below 0°F (Zone 7).
How To Water
The Starlight® has a decent amount of drought resistance wired into its genes, but for the best results, water it regularly. Not too much! This tree doesn’t tolerate constantly wet soil.
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.