Spotlight on Cornus mas ‘Aurea’

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One can’t help but admire the clusters of bright yellow flowers of Cornus mas ‘Aurea’ which are borne in dense clusters on short twiggy side shoots in February, but Cornus mas ‘Aurea’ is a plant with several seasons of interest. 

In spring, its golden-yellow leaves are at their freshest and brightest, before they mellow to shades of yellow-green in the summer. The leaves are slightly vulnerable to burning so it is best planted in a semi-shaded position. If you want to add further summer interest, try planting Cornus mas ‘Aurea’ together with a contrasting dark pink, late flowering, variety of clematis.

In late August/early September you may get the benefit of its edible glossy red cherry-like fruits, which can be used to make preserves. Cornus mas ‘Aurea’ is not a very free fruiting variety; best results occur in a warm season or where planted in a warm and sheltered position. In a final flourish, the foliage takes on pink and red autumn tints.

With prolonged seasons of interest, Cornus mas ‘Aurea’ holds a well-deserved RHS Award of Garden Merit. What’s more, it’s an easy growing shrub, very hardy and not that fussy about soil conditions. Although not very fast growing it can make a substantial shrub when mature, reaching 2.5m in height and 2m-2.5m in width.

Cornus mas ‘Aurea’ looks great when planted with an evergreen that adds winter interest and compliments the bright yellow flowers borne on bare stems. Try Viburnum tinus ‘Gwenllian’, Sarcococca confusa or Daphne bholua ‘Jaqueline Postil’ and under-plant with Cyclamen coum for added interest or Cyclamen hederifolium for later autumn colour. Check out our latest plant catalogue for these and other varieties.