Dogwood Bush Care Must-Knows

Grow dogwood shrubs in full sun or part shade and moist soil. Many dogwood shrubs grow well in soil that is wet for short periods during the growing season, which makes them suitable for rain gardens and low spots in the landscape. Silky and red osier dogwoods are especially tolerant of consistently moist soil. When purchasing plants, read the plant tag to ensure your growing location matches the plant's moisture requirements.

Plant dogwood shrubs in spring or early summer. Water the shrubs well after planting and spread a 2-inch-thick layer of mulch over the root zone to prevent soil-moisture loss. Water plants regularly during the first growing season to promote a strong root system.

Dogwood Shrub Overview

Genus Name Cornus
Common Name Dogwood Shrub
Plant Type Shrub
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 3 to 8 feet
Width null to 20 feet
Flower Color White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Colorful Fall Foliage, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom, Winter Interest
Special Features Attracts Birds, Good for Containers
Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings
Problem Solvers Good For Privacy, Slope/Erosion Control

Pruning Particulars

Dogwood shrubs don't require frequent pruning, but you can intensify winter stem color by regularly removing older canes. That's because young woody stems produce bright red, yellow, or orange-red winter colors. Cut back about one-third of the oldest, most faded stems in early spring. Remove damaged or dead stems at the same time. Each subsequent spring cut back another third of the stems. When the pruned dogwood bush emerges from dormancy in the spring, you'll see an increased number of colorful stems appearing as a result.

More Varieties of Dogwood Shrub

'Elegantissima' red twig dogwood

redtwig dogwood Cornus alba 'Elegantissima'

Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' features gray-green leaves edged in white open on red stems. It grows 10 feet tall and wide. (Zones 2-8)

'Golden Shadows' pagoda dogwood

'Golden Shadows' pagoda dogwood Cornus alternifolia

This variety of Cornus alternifolia offers gold-edge leaves. It bears white springtime flowers and purple fruits in summer and fall. It prefers shade and grows 15 feet tall and wide. (Zones 4-8)

Gray dogwood

Gray dogwood Cornus racemosa

Cornus racemosa is an upright North American native shrub with reddish-brown bark that matures to gray. The white spring flowers are followed by white fruit in summer. It grows 10-15 feet tall and wide. (Zones 4-8)

Variegated red twig dogwood


Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' has variegated leaves, white berries, stunning fall color, and showy red stems in winter. (Zones 2–8)

'Ivory Halo' red twig dogwood

Ivory Halo redtwig dogwood Cornus alba 'Bailhalo'

This Cornus alba selection is a compact shrub featuring white-edge medium green leaves and bright red twigs. It grows 6 feet tall and wide. (Zones 3-7)

'Isanti' Red Osier dogwood

'China Girl' Kousa dogwood

Cornus sericea 'Isanti' forms a dense, compact shrub of red stems. It grows 6 feet tall and wide. (Zones 2-8)

Garden Plans For Dogwood

Bold Woodland Garden Plan

Bold Woodland Garden Plan

Low Water Garden Plan

Low-Water Garden
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