Many decorative dogwoods are cultivated for their impressive blooms, however the Ivory Halo dogwood stands out for its stunning variegated leaves.
Thanks to its vibrant red stems, it also keeps your interest long after its decorative leaves have dropped. Before adding this to your landscape, you’re likely wondering how large this shrub is.
Ivory Halo dogwoods are relatively compact shrubs, growing to a mature height and spread of around 4 to 6 feet. They are fairly fast-growing plants for their size though, gaining around a foot or so every year. Regular pruning won’t be necessary unless you wish to stimulate new growth.
This shrub is also pretty low maintenance and adapts well to various conditions, so with a little TLC, this gorgeous variety will look its best 365 days out of the year!
Let’s discover more about Ivory Halo dogwood from its foliage changes and winter appeal to key parts of its care and ideal conditions.
Discover numerous other popular Dogwood shrub varieties discussed in my article, “Best Dogwood Shrub Varieties“.
Ivory Halo Dogwood
Commonly called Tartarian dogwood, Ivory Halo dogwood is native to eastern and central Asia, and its common nickname is in reference to the Tatar or Tartar people originating from the ancient Central Asian landmass known as Tartary.
Let’s begin with an overview of this stunning variegated shrub before diving into its growing needs and overall care.
|Cornus alba ‘Bailhalo’ Ivory Halo
|4 to 6 feet
|4 to 6 feet
|Partial to full sun
|Clay/sandy soil with organic matter. Neutral to slightly acidic pH
|Deep weekly soaking for the first two growing seasons
|May to June
|Bloom color & fragrance
|Greenish-yellow to cream with a sweet honeysuckle-like scent
|Burgundy and purple
Ivory Halo dogwood is a small, compact shrub with an oval or rounded habit, featuring multiple dark-red stems and twigs and showy elliptical leaves of deep green with creamy-white edges.
It also produces flat clusters of small cream-colored flowers and white berries later in the season.
The decorative green-and-cream foliage is joined by small clusters of tiny white flowers in late spring.
These blooms later give way to clusters of white berries that become flushed with a blue-green color as they ripen.
By fall, the variegated leaves take on a rich burgundy-red and purple color, and once they drop, they reveal bright-red winter bark on the previously dark-red stems.
Growth Rate & Mature Size
For its compact frame, this shrub is considered a fairly fast grower, spreading up to a foot per year.
Though it is similar to the Red Twig dogwood in terms of stem coloring, Ivory Halo will not spread as aggressively as its Red Twig counterpart.
At maturity, this shrub will typically reach 4-6 feet tall and wide.
Grown for its foliage and winter stems rather than its flowers, the blooms of the Ivory Halo dogwood are greenish-yellow to creamy-white and not especially showy.
These normally bloom from May to June, sometimes with additional flowering continuing into late summer.
Ike all dogwoods, the flowers of the Ivory Halo variety will have a pleasant and lightly sweet honeysuckle-like fragrance when grown in the right conditions.
Fall Foliage & Winter Appeal
After wowing with green-and-cream patterned leaves throughout spring and summer, fall brings an intense burgundy and purple color that is highlighted even more dramatically by the cream edges.
Once these leaves fall, Ivory Halo dogwood leaves you with vibrant bright-red stems that look dazzling against a snowy backdrop!
This is a very hardy shrub with great tolerance to both drought and even standing water. It also boasts a high resistance to rabbits, deer, and most pests and diseases.
Ivory Halo Dogwood Growing Conditions
As robust as this little shrub is, there are a few main growing requirements to follow if you want to see lush and full growth.
Let’s look at the recommended climate for Ivory Halo dogwoods plus their ideal light and soil conditions.
This shrub should be planted within USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 7.
For optimal results, make allowances for weather extremes in the southernmost regions of Zone 6 and 7 by providing a cooler microclimate.
This means planting your Ivory Halo in an area that receives morning rather than afternoon sun, planting it in a rain garden, or keeping it in a breezy or partially shady location.
Because the decorative foliage is among its key features, prevent scorched leaves on your Ivory Halo by planting it in partial shade rather than full sun.
Full sun (6-8 hours of direct sunlight) is okay in areas that don’t experience excessive summer temperatures, but half this daily amount is enough to result in stunning foliage.
Though it can adapt to many soils, go for moist, well-draining soil that is also richly fertile.
Clay and sandy soils are good options if mixed in with plenty of organic matter, such as shredded leaves, grass clippings, compost, etc.
Ivory Halo dogwoods prefer slightly acidic to neutral soils (between 5.0 and 8.0 pH). Test your soil beforehand as most garden soils tend to be slightly acidic.
Ivory Halo Dogwood Maintenance and Care
With the growing basics covered, we now need to know how to maintain the health of your Ivory Halo dogwood year after year.
Here are some tips on the correct water and fertilizer schedule plus well-timed pruning to maintain strength and color intensity.
Perpetually moist soil is key to helping Ivory Halo flourish.
Throughout the first two growing seasons, encourage your shrub to establish strong vigorous roots by watering deeply each week to the point it fully saturates the soil.
Allow the soil to dry out in between watering, checking moisture levels with your finger.
Watering can be reduced a little as the shrub matures — just be sure to provide the soil with a deep soaking during extensive drought periods.
This shrub won’t require fertilizer to thrive, but if you do, opt for one with a higher nitrogen percentage in its NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) ratio as this will induce foliage and stem growth over bloom production.
TIP: If using fertilizer, cease all fertilizer use at least 2 months before the first frost date in your area to prevent frost damage to new growth.
These compact shrubs will stay neat with minimal pruning, but it’s helpful to prune back around 25% of the oldest stems each year in early spring or late winter to stimulate new and vigorous growth (which will ultimately result in a deeper red color the following winter!).
Pick out stems that are no longer red, and prune them to the ground using clean pruning shears.
You can also give your shrub a quick revitalization every 2-3 years by pruning all stems to the ground. This may require loppers or a pruning saw as growth is much thicker and woody at the base.
Pests & Diseases
Ivory Halo dogwood has a few pests, but none are likely to inflict serious damage.
Scale insects and leaf miners are the most common, leaving sap and winding white trails on the underside of leaves.
This can be treated by pruning affected foliage or spraying infestations with natural insecticides like neem oil.
This shrub isn’t troubled very often by disease, but those that do crop up (leaf spot, canker, and leaf blight) can often highlight poor growing conditions.
If you notice dark brown or yellow spots on the leaves or sunken or swollen areas on the stems, extreme heat and underwatering are usually the culprits.
Landscape Uses & Wildlife Value
For dramatic effect in your winter scape, you could plant Ivory Halo alongside Yellow Twig dogwood for a bicolor display of gold and bright red!
These thick shrubs can also make great screen lines or borders around your property.
As for wildlife potential, your Ivory Halo blossoms will attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds while the juicy blue-green berries will see songbirds and various other bird species flock to your garden.
Dark-leaved shrub varieties like Japanese barberry and black lace elderberry can look stunning against the lighter cream-and-green patterned leaves of the Ivory Halo.
Whether you’re co-planting for aesthetic purposes or improving soil health, the following can also make great companion plants for your Ivory Halo:
- Purple coneflower
- Bloody crane’s-bill
- Coral bells
- Whorled tickseed
- Ice plant
- False goat’s beard
Where To Buy
As this is a special variegated cultivar, opt for online tree nurseries to ensure you’re getting a good quality specimen.
Unlike a lot of retailers and garden centers, tree nurseries usually ensure your shrub has developed a robust root system before shipping it over to you. Here are some of the best ones to try:
Ivory Halo dogwood has a year-round appeal with its pretty cream and deep-green variegated foliage, white flowers, and bold red stems.
Like a lot of dogwoods, this variety is fairly low in maintenance needs, but partial shade and consistently moist soil will help the stunning leaves look their best.
To enjoy the vibrant red stem coloring each winter, be sure to prune old growth every spring to encourage healthy and robust stems throughout the seasons.
Can’t make up your mind about the perfect Dogwood shrub? Take a look at these popular varieties to explore more choices and find your match.