Name: Cornus alba ‘Bailhalo’ aka Ivory Halo variegated red twig dogwood
Type of Plant: A shrub with variegated leaves and bright red stems, hardy in zones 3-7. Multi-stemmed, lacy (but not showy) flowers that attract butterflies and pollinators.
Why I Love This Plant: I love how the pale green and white leaves brighten up any garden. I love how the red stems add fall and winter color to the landscape. And I love cutting those stems and using them in winter decorations or craft projects.
This shrub grows well in full sun or part-sun, tolerates wet areas such as a rain garden, and isn’t prone to deer or rabbit munching.
A Word to the Wise: Don’t place this shrub close to automatic irrigation that will hit the foliage frequently! That will cause leaf-spot which will make the plant less attractive.
The newest growth is the most red, so don’t prune these by cutting off the top of the shrub. A sheared red-twig dogwood is an ugly red-twig dogwood! Instead, prune out the oldest, fattest, grayest stems at the base of the plant every year. If you cut out three or four annually, that will stimulate lots of new, red stems. If you’ve never pruned your shrub this way, cut out all stems that aren’t red at their base.
These plants can also be renovated by cutting the entire shrub down to about two inches tall. Do that in the spring.