Mature Height: 30 ft.
Growth Rate: Slow to moderate
Light Requirements: Best in part shade (but can also be grown in full sun)
Foliage: Deciduous, opposite mid-green leaves turns brilliant red in fall
Flower/Fruit: White or pink bracts of four petals with yellow centers in March/April, red berries in fall
Hardy to Zone 5
I cannot imagine a spring without the dogwoods blooming. They are anticipated here in the South about as much as the azaleas. We were fortunate to have many semi-mature dogwoods on my property when we moved in. This is a native tree to the Eastern United States and commonly grows as understory trees in forests. They make a showy appearance in early spring when their white or pink blossoms appear before the leaves.
The dogwood is an excellent tree that offers much more than their spring blossoms. They have an unusual shape (with gnarled branches growing more horizontally than vertically) and the fall coloring of the leaves and berries is very dramatic. Over the past several decades, many dogwoods in the wild have suffered from a deadly disease called anthracnose. However, anthracnose tends to spread on trees in shady moist woods and forests in higher elevations and not in suburban areas. (If you need more information about anthracnose, check out this link). This should not deter you from growing dogwoods in your garden. They are excellent trees for patios, naturalized areas or as specimen trees. Growth can be slow and I have found that buying larger trees is often beneficial to smaller ones. And always choose healthy specimens. Plant them in well-drained, moist soils preferably in a partly shady spot. Some of the best cultivars are "Cherokee Princess" (blooms at an early age with large white flowers), "Cherokee Sunset" (pink), "Cherokee Chief" (dark pink), "Cherokee Daybreak" (white with variegated leaves), "Cloud Nine" (white) and "Rubra" (pink).
Back to Trees & Shrubs