The dogwood tree is one of the most beautiful and popular trees that you can grow on your property. Native to eastern North America, the dogwood is also cultivated across the world, wherever the climate may allow.
Famous for its gorgeous blossoms, dogwood trees are a dazzling way to bring color to your outdoor garden. There are many varieties of dogwood, all of which are wonderful in their own way. Which ones will best thrive in your area depend on your climate, location, and the type of soil on your property. If you are interested in growing dogwood trees, contact us at your local tree service for advice on the best trees for your environment and help in caring for your newly planted trees.
Here are a few of our favorite varieties of dogwood to consider growing yourself:
There are many varieties of dogwood, and perhaps the most popular one among both amateur and professional gardeners is the flowering dogwood (cornus florida). As they are native to Eastern North America, where there are many much taller species of trees, they have adapted to grow in a bit of shade. If you live in a temperate climate, where there are other tall trees around, flowering dogwoods should take to your environment very well. They are relatively small trees, rarely growing more than thirty feet in height at the maximum.
Flowering dogwoods are famous for their spectacular colors. The flowers can be white, pink, yellow or even purple, and they tend to bloom all the way from late winter through the end of summer. As deciduous trees, flowering dogwoods also provide dramatic fall foliage, with the leaves they bear in autumn differing amongst the varieties of dogwood. The small flowers appear in clusters of four to seven bracts (small modified leaves) that cover the branches of the tree.
To thrive, flowering dogwoods require nice long summers. Different cultivars require different environmental zones to thrive. Before planting any dogwood trees, do a little research to see how well they will do in your environment.
Flowering dogwoods can also be vulnerable to various diseases; anthracnose is of particular concern, so if you live in an area where it is common, consider one of the different varieties of dogwood. If, however, you live in the right type of environment for it, flowering dogwoods are among the most dramatically beautiful trees you can grow.
Types of flowering dogwoods
There are many different cultivars of flowering dogwood and which ones to consider growing depends on your environment, as well as your personal tastes.
If you live in hardiness zones 5a – 7a, consider Sweetwater Red. As its name suggests, its flowers are a beautiful red and it grows to about 25 feet in height. It’s also a great tree for attracting local wildlife species, as native birds and pretty butterflies are drawn to its colorful flowers.
Wonderberry is a cultivar of cornus florida that bears fairly large fruit, which while not edible to humans is great for attracting local wildlife. It’s another one of the larger species of dogwood, growing to about 25 feet in height and width. The flower clusters are a stark white and the leaves are an attractive dark green.
The Rainbow variety of the flowering dogwood is so named because of its leaves, which change to many different showy colors throughout the year. During the springtime, you’ll see a yellowish green tree with white flowers; as fall approaches, the flowers will disappear and the leaves will turn pink, red and even bluish.
If you like the varieties of dogwood that boast red flowers, the Cherokee Brave is one of the best options available to you. Their flowers are actually a deep pink with a white center and they are one of the smaller varieties of dogwood, growing to about 15 feet at their maximum height.
This cultivar is one of the slowest-growing varieties of dogwood. It will take a while to become established in your garden; even so, it will begin to produce flowers early in its life and bloom very heavily.
Kousa dogwoods (cornus kousa), also known as the Korean Dogwood, is very similar to the Flowering Dogwood but has a few key differences as well. It tends to bloom later in the year than the flowering dogwood, so you won’t get as many months of flowers out of it, however, it has the noted benefit of being resistant to the anthracnose disease. As a result, it can survive in environments where the flowering dogwood cannot. Like its cousin, it bears fruit that attracts beneficial local wildlife such as birds and butterflies. It also has a variety of cultivars that can suit a number of different environments and personal tastes.
Types of Kousa Dogwood
This is a small variety of the kousa dogwood, growing to only about ten feet in height. If you have a small garden or are otherwise lacking in space, this is a great option. It produces pink flowers and boasts white margins on its leaves.
With multicolored leaves that appear gold, pink and green, this is one of the larger varieties of the kousa dogwood, reaching about twenty feet in height. Its blooms are white and its leaves grow very densely.
As its name suggests, each leaf has a band that resembles a gold star on this particular cultivar. With green and gold leaves that have red stems, the tree is plenty colorful while the leaves are an attractive bright white.
Cornus Florida and Cornus Kousa, among other varieties of dogwood, have also been cross bred to improve their disease resistance and create even more attractive leaves and blooms. Here are a few examples of our favorite hybrids.
This cultivar is resistant to anthracnose and powdery mildew and provides heavy clusters of white flowers. It is a particularly hardy variety and can do well in a number of climates.
Another hybrid that produces white flowers and is resistant to disease, this variety is relatively low to the ground and can thrive in a location with little space.
This variety boasts pink flowers and can grow to nearly 25 feet in height. It is also highly resistant to disease.