VIU Milner Gardens and Woodland

Plant Pick: Chinese Dogwood

Latin name:  Cornus kousa chinensis

by Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association

When in full bloom, the Chinese dogwood at the entry to the Grand Lawn is one of Milner Gardens' spectaculars. The whole tree is clothed in snowy white contrasting with to the blue sky and the dark green of the Douglas firs in the surrounding area. Chinese dogwoods are trees of year-round interest.

In winter, this tree, which can grow to more than 20 feet, shows its shape and spreading branches beautifully when leafless. In spring or early summer, it blooms profusely. In autumn, its foliage turns from dark green to reddish-bronze and it may bear strawberry-like fruits.

At the gardens, it grows in the vicinity of the Rhododendron grove, a good indication of its preferred growing conditions: somewhat protected from winds, nearly full sun, and enough moisture.

I wonder if it is a tree Ray and Veronica Milner admired in its native range on their travels to China, Japan, and Korea and decided to grow one in their garden?

Photos courtesy of:  Dorothee Kieser






Ovate leaves, wavy-margined


7 m / 5 m

Hardiness Zone:



Sun to semi-shade

Flower colour:

White (very free- flowering)

Leaf colour:

Dark green turning orange in fall

Flower time:

May - June

Preferred soil

and Watering:

Habitat:  Edge of woodland