Empress of China is a wonderful evergreen variety that can easily withstand the heat and humidity of the Deep South and still produce an impressive amount of blooms throughout the growing season. It exhibits amazing garden performance in the North, too (with some protection), thriving in the Mid-Atlantic to Zone 6b. In late spring, the entire tree is covered in creamy white flowers—up to 150 per branch—that magically transform into vibrant, strawberry-like fruits that attract songbirds. As the name suggests, the glossy, bright green leaves keep their vivid color throughout the year in the South. Semi-evergreen in cooler climates, the foliage takes on a purplish tinge in the cold winter months. In either climate, it sets a partly shaded site alight with color and texture. Selected by our friend, noted plantsman John Elsley. Cornus angustata 'Elsbry' PP14537
Planting InstructionsPrefers an area that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. Does best in a spot sheltered from wind. Is best to stake young plants. Set plant at the same level it is growing at in the container, firm soil and water thoroughly.
Winter CareAn organic mulch is helpful to conserve soil moisture, when plant is young.
Flower FormComposed of four prominent "star-shaped" bracts that surround a small central cluster of tiny flowers.
Foliage TypeEvergreen in south, to semi-evergreen in cooler climates. Lustrous, narrow, dark green leaves have a purplish tinge in the coldest winters.
Soil RequirementAcidic, organically-rich, moisture retentive soil. Use mulch to maintain soil moisture - never allow to dry out. Becomes more drought tolerant with age.
PruningPrune to maintain a desired shape and to remove dead and broken limbs. Late winter.
Additional InformationA seedling selection made in the South Carolina garden of John Elsley, 1993. Botanically close to Cornus kousa.