Dogwood Tree

These small trees are prized for their early spring flowers and tidy growth habit.

Colorful Combinations

What many people consider to be flowers on the dogwood tree are actually bracts (showy structures that range in color from soft white to deep pink). Dogwood trees' actual flowers are held in a round cluster at the center of each bract, which stays attached to the branches much longer than actual blooms.

Dogwood Tree Care Must-Knows

Care requirements depend on the species of tree being grown. Dogwood trees generally prefer well-drained soil on the slightly acidic side. The trees should be kept moist, although they can tolerate occasional dry spells once established. Many species prefer organic soil, which may call for an application of compost. Heavy mulch helps these plants thrive in both summer heat and winter cold.

Dogwoods are understory trees, so many species have adapted to or prefer part shade, especially in the hot afternoon sun. However, select varieties tolerate full sun.

In addition to bearing beautiful flowers, many species bear edible fruit that can be made into preserves. Leaving some fruit on the plant for wildlife to enjoy is especially important in the winter when little else is available.

As a rule, dogwood trees don't need much maintenance, but pruning may be occasionally required to shape the plant. Summer is the ideal time to prune since the plant experiences a heavy sap flow during winter and spring.

New Innovations

New varieties of dogwood trees seldom hit the market because woody trees take so long to go from the point of breeding to introduction. Dogwoods are diverse, so ornamental traits and practical traits (such as summer-heat tolerance, hardiness, and bloom time) are being worked on for new and better plants. For example, one recent introduction features bright orange fruit instead of the more common red fruit.

More Varieties of Dogwood Tree

Dogwood Tree Overview

Description Available in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, dogwood trees add beauty to the landscape for most of the year. The show begins with pretty four-petal flowers from spring into summer, followed by bright red and orange foliage in the fall. Winter brings showy bright red fruit for a final splash of color.
Genus Name Cornus
Common Name Dogwood Tree
Plant Type Shrub, Tree
Light Part Sun, Sun
Height 20 to 20 feet
Width 10 to 15 feet
Flower Color Pink, White
Foliage Color Blue/Green
Season Features Colorful Fall Foliage, Spring Bloom, Summer Bloom, Winter Interest
Special Features Attracts Birds, Good for Containers, Low Maintenance
Zones 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Propagation Seed, Stem Cuttings

'Cherokee Chief' flowering dogwood

'Cherokee Chief' flowering dogwood
Bill Stites

Cornus florida 'Cherokee Chief' is an old classic variety that bears loads of ruby-pink blooms in late spring. It grows 20 feet tall and 25 feet wide in Zones 5-8.

'Cherokee Sunset' flowering dogwood

Cherokee Sunset' flowering dogwood
Bob Stefko

Cornus florida 'Cherokee Sunset' is one of the most dramatic varieties. It bears deep pink flowers and yellow-edged foliage. It grows 20 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-8

'China Girl' dogwood

'China Girl' dogwood
Bill Stites

Cornus kousa 'China Girl' is a free-flowering variety, that even at a young age produces plenty of creamy white blooms. It grows 22 feet tall and 15 feet high in Zones 5-8.

'Cloud Nine' flowering dogwood

'Cloud Nine' flowering dogwood
Rob Cardillo 

Cornus florida 'Cloud Nine' offers large white flowers with overlapping bracts that appear in spring. The compact tree grows 20 feet tall and 25 feet wide. Zones 5-8

'Golden Shadows' dogwood

'Golden Shadows' dogwood
Peter Krumhardt

Cornus alternifolia 'Golden Shadows' is a bold, eye-catching variety grown as a small tree or large shrub. It offers golden-edged foliage and has a rosy tint when it emerges in spring. It grows 15 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-8

Pink flowering dogwood

Pink flowering dogwood
Peter Krumhardt

Cornus florida 'Rubra' bears pink flowers in late spring. The tree grows only 20 feet tall and 25 feet wide. Zones 5-8

'Milky Way' dogwood

'Milky Way' dogwood
Jon Jensen

Cornus kousa 'Milky Way' bears a generous constellation of white flowers followed by plenty of red-berried fruit. It's disease resistant and grows 22 feet tall and 15 feet wide. Zones 5-8

'Satomi' dogwood

'Satomi' dogwood
Andy Lyons

Cornus kousa 'Satomi' is a disease-resistant selection with dark pink flowers in late spring. It grows 22 feet tall and 15 feet high. Zones 5-8

'Wolf Eyes' dogwood

'Wolf Eyes' dogwood
Marty Baldwin

Cornus kousa 'Wolf Eyes' bears beautiful white flowers, but it also features stunning green foliage edged in white. Zones 5-8

Garden Plan for Dogwood Tree

Corner of Shrubs

Woody Corner
Mavis Augustine Torke

Trees and shrubs are the four-seasons backbone of the landscape. Create an eye-catching vignette with these woody plants in your garden.

Download this plan now.

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