Golden Shadows® Pagoda Dogwood

Pagoda Dogwood, Cornus alternafolia, is a native understory plant that can be grown as a shrub or a small tree. Golden Shadows® (C. alternifolia 'Wstackman' pp#11,287) is an exciting new variety discovered by Walt Stackman, a daylily breeder from Illinois. It has brightly variegated leaves that are reminiscent of a variegated Hosta. To add icing on the cake, the new growth is tinged with hues of red and pink. Just like the species, this dogwood has white lacy blooms in mid to late spring. My plant was in full bloom on May 31 here in Michigan.

Previously to the release of Golden Shadows, the only other selection of variegated Pagoda Dogwood was a variety named 'Argentea'. While highly prized by collectors for its silver variegated leaves, 'Argenea' had the reputation as a plant that grew smaller each year instead of larger.

Golden Shadows is a robust plant and can be easily grown if planted in the proper location. Remember this is an understory species, so it adapted to growing in shady locations under larger trees. To get the most out of Golden Shadows plant it in a shady location, or better yet, in a location with filtered sun. With proper site selection you will be rewarded with strong growth and bright foliage.

This beauty has only been on the market for about two years, so I doubt that your local garden center sell it, however, it can be purchased via the internet or mail order from both Wayside Gardens and Songsparrow Farms. Google these nurseries to locate their websites.

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  1. Thanks for the tips on the Golden Shadows. A friend suggested I plant a Pagoda Dogwood in a new shade garden we're making rather than a Japanese Lilac since it would do better in the shade - there are several large trees overhead in this area of our yard. She advised that the Lilac would need more sun. So I'm sold on the idea of a PD - I'm sure she was aware and referring only to the original Argentea variety since she has had hers for years. If I plan on planting more of my collector Hostas beneath and around the Golden Shadows variety, do you think it may compete/conflict with all the hosta activity going on or rather compliment it?

    Mary in MN

  2. Anonymous3:14 PM

    I have a hard time imagining variegated hostas being planted under this dogwood. Part of the beauty of the pagoda is it's elegance and the clash of other variegation seems as though it would really take away from it. If you have wonderful greens or golds to plant under it, I think that would be absolutely lovely.

    1. Anonymous10:40 AM

      That was my first thought exactly. It would be too chaotic for me to add more variegation when this tree is so distinctive and radiant. I would prefer burgundy or blue planted with Golden Shadows.

  3. I have been admiring this plant for the last couple years. There is one at the Olbrich Gardens in Monona, WI, but it seemed a bit poorly-sited or perhaps underwatered. This week, I found one in the "scratch and dent section" of a nearby nursery. I brought it home and set the pot next to my blooming Nodine smokebush. The color contrast is incredible. I think I might try to underplant it with something of a similar shade to the Nordine.


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