Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Flowering Dogwood, Eastern Dogwood
Cornus florida

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Family: Cornaceae
Genus: Cornus (KOR-nus) (Info)
Species: florida (FLOR-id-uh) (Info)

12 vendors have this plant for sale.

25 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden

Category:
Trees

Height:
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Spacing:
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Danger:
N/A

Bloom Color:
Pink
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring

Foliage:
Deciduous

Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Soil pH requirements:
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From softwood cuttings
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel
By grafting
By budding

Seed Collecting:
Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible

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There are a total of 51 photos.
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Profile:

19 positives
5 neutrals
1 negative

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive coriaceous On Mar 11, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

This may well be my favorite ornamental tree.

I like it both for its spectacular flowering display---extra prominent because it happens when the tree's still leafless---and for its gracefully tiered branching architecture. Fall color is often a good purplish red.

To bloom and harden off their wood well, flowering dogwoods require the long hot summers they get where they're native. This is one tree that grows and blooms better in the eastern US than where milder summers prevail, as in the Pacific northwest, the Canadian maritimes, or the British Isles.

There are flowering dogwoods that are hardy to Z5 and bloom well there. But many of the trees in commerce today descend from southern populations that may not be flower-bud-hardy in the north.

In the wild, this tree occurs as an understory tree (often with redbud, Cercis canadensis, which blooms at the same time).

In 1978 a virulent fungal disease, dogwood anthracnose, was introduced into the northeastern US and has spread steadily south. In some places it has virtually wiped out the native population, and does a lot of damage to cultivated plants.

Since the advent of the anthracnose, the recommendations for planting flowering dogwoods have changed. Drought stress increases their susceptibility, but so does water on their leaves. So the ideal site today has good morning sun, so the foliage dries off early in the day, and protection from the hottest afternoon sun. Regular drip irrigation reduces drought stress, as does mulch 2-3" deep over the root run (but not touching the trunk). Dogwoods dislike root competition from grass or groundcovers.

Flowering dogwoods are subject to many pests and diseases, but stressed trees have far more problems than trees that have been placed with an eye to their needs.

To develop anthracnose-resistant dogwoods, Orton at Rutgers crossed Cornus florida with Cornus kousa. The hybrids are resistant to anthracnose, but resemble C. kousa more than C. florida, especially in blooming with the leaves instead of before them.

'Appalachian Spring' is a C. florida cultivar that's said to have exceptional resistance to anthracnose.

Positive delbertyoung56m On Jun 18, 2012, delbertyoung56m from Medina, NY wrote:

I bought a 1 year old seedling, at a yard sale, from a lady on Long Island, who grew many dogwoods from a tree in her yard, and then sold them at the yard sale for $3. Now mine is well over my head due to pruning, but has not bloomed yet - Maybe next year.

Positive onyx3d On Jun 21, 2011, onyx3d from Toronto
Canada wrote:

*****UPDATE to post April 20th, 2012*****
****Just to give an update to my original post below, my tree has gone from 3 blooms last year (after which I used the below method through the summer and winter non-stop) and this year the tree has 40-50 blooms approx., and more may pop out yet as it's still april and they haven't even begun to open yet. So I think it's safe to say that things are working well. I will update the final count after all have bloomed******

****Original post below*****

For people having trouble with the plant read below, and your issues will likely vanish.

I planted a dogwood sapling in Toronto, Ontario Canada last year (it had one bloom at the nursery, I wanted the least established plant to give the tree a better chance to grow into its new home). It concerned me at times because it always seemed to be struggling a little and looking like it wasn't getting something (water, nutirents, pH). It had inconistant leaf health, some looked fine, some had browning tips with a hint of red. I also noticed alot of photos online shared these issues.

Since the plants around it were doing just fine I ruled out water and nutrients,and I did some more research, and lo and behold it needed an acidic (low pH) soil.... BUT..I did not then run off to follow some of the online advice about acidifying my soil using aluminum sulfate or some other such chemical soil additive. Instead I continued to research. Surely these people were missing something basic here, no plant should require a chemical factory to live. They've been doing fine on their own for years...so what's the key???

Now if you read about this tree you will discover that one of its greatest assets is that it provides a great fruit in the late summer for birds...I thought about this for a second and then it clicked.... This bird/tree relationship wasn't accidental. Birds weren't parasitic scavengers of this tree's fruit. The tree has, in effect, evolved to LURE birds to eat it's fruit. Now, one could argue that this fruit lure evolved as a way to spread the seeds...but evolution has found other ways to spread seeds, wind usually being the answer...

So why the strong connection with birds???

Well the asnwer is two words:

BIRD POOP

Yes that's right...what my tree was lacking was a nice constant supply of BIRD POOP which is a very, very acidic and nutrient loaded substance that this tree LOVES. So since my tree was a sapling and hadn't attracted any birds (being in downtown toronto birds can be reluctant to fly down to lower trees) I strarted spreading a handful of quality no-waste bird seed around the base of the tree, and now I have frequent and regular vistors, working tirelessly to turn my seed into an acid/fertilizer cornucopia. The leaf issues have now begun to vanish and my tree is starting to look radiant. The birds are quite happy with the situation as well, and will be even happier when the fruit of their labour pays off and they get their bonus treat later on.

So, I just came on here to tell anyone who has problems with this tree (leaf problems, brown tips) it is likely because of your soil not being acidic enough. DO NOT go and dump a bunch of chemicals that will possibly damage your plant and put you into an endless cycle of pH checking and chemical dumping. :) Just put a bird feeder under your lowest branch and let NATURE do it for you. Not only will your tree be filled with playing, happy, singing birds, you will never have to worry about your soil pH again. And your tree will look gorgeous.

Hope this helps anyone with a dogwood, and please pass this on.

Positive danieldogwood On May 8, 2011, danieldogwood from Coxsackie, NY wrote:

I'm in the Hudson Valley and planted a flowering dogwood about 4 -5 years ago. But, it has never flowered. I planted it at the edge of a wooded area with a tree canopy that provides dappled shade. Has anyone had similar experiences? Is there anything I can do? I love dogwoods and would love to see the tree flower each year. Seeking advice.

Positive gsiwicki On Jun 23, 2010, gsiwicki from Whitehouse Station, NJ wrote:

Sadly, we lost our beautiful white dogwood this year after the rough winter we had in New Jersey-3 snow storms with almost a foot each time. We've lived in our house for 11 years and I believe this dogwood had been there for years before that. I loved watching it bloom each Spring from several of our windows. This wasn't the only we lost this year-each one breaks my heart! I'd definitely get another one!!!!!

Positive susierosey On May 26, 2010, susierosey from Millstone, NJ wrote:

We have several Dogwoods on our property - natives and Rutgers hybrids and, as others have noted, blooms on all were sparse this year which I must assume was weather related. Usually they are a beautiful welcome to spring.

Positive hwylo On May 24, 2010, hwylo from Wilmington, NC wrote:

Some mention should be made of the blight that is currently decimating large populations of this species.

(seehttp://plantclinic.cornell.edu/FactSheets/dogwoodanthracn... )

The anthracnose fungus has taken a number of trees on my property, and I have noticed a decrease of the tree in the wild.

Neutral Gardennot On May 24, 2010, Gardennot from Willingboro, NJ wrote:

Our dogwoods did not bloom nearly as much as the previous years. We had a three large snowfalls (each over a foot of snow) was that the reason why the blooms were so sparse this year. Too wet?

Positive Canopy On May 24, 2010, Canopy from Tallahassee, FL wrote:

We have grown both white and pink dogwoods here in Tallahassee, Florida, Zone 8b, for the past 25 years. White dogwoods are indigenous to the area and will self-seed. When we planted the pink dogwoods we were told we were too far South for the pinks to bloom reliably, but they have done so every year. The nursery we originally bought them from said that these pink varieties had come from Pensacola, which is about 200 miles west. We would like to plant more pink dogwoods but they are not now available for sale in this area. Anyone know of a vendor in the area?

Negative dormousehouse On May 24, 2010, dormousehouse from villennes sur seine (paris)
France wrote:

I LIVE NR PARIS FRANCE AND SPENT FORTUNE ON A YOUNG TREE ABOUT 2 1/2 FT TALL; IT IS NEITHER DEAD NOR ALIVE! IT SEEMED LAST YR (its 1st full yr here) to slowly deteriorate; it lost most leaves and certainly has never bloomed. it is planted in an island in the lawn in full sun with other plantings beneath. shall i rip it out as it is in a prime location or is there another solution? thanks! lisa.dormousehouse@gmail.com

Positive Cheryl8 On May 24, 2010, Cheryl8 from Monroe Township, NJ (Zone 7a) wrote:

My Dogwood has always flowered beautifully every year. This year however I had a total of three flowers on the tree. Was it the harsh winter we had or did the squirrels eat the buds? The comment below caught my eye, I see it was not just my tree that this happened to.

Neutral sterlingray714 On Apr 16, 2010, sterlingray714 from Wilmington, DE wrote:

Do dogwood trees bllom every year? Ours has very few this year, and has bloomed plentifully in the past? Can anybody enlighten me?
We are in Wilmington, DE, which I think ought to be a good zone for this tree.

Positive Funkhouser On Jul 3, 2008, Funkhouser from Belmont, NC wrote:

We have three of the white-flowering variety on our property, and they are everywhere around this area (a lot of mature hardwoods around to shade them). Ours flower proliferously, and leaves are very drought tolerant...but that could be due to the fact that they are so well-established here.

Positive escambiaguy On Jul 18, 2006, escambiaguy from Atmore, AL (Zone 8b) wrote:

So many people make the mistake of planting this tree in full sun, where it always looks scorched. This is one that must have part shade to look it's best.

Positive Breezymeadow On Jan 31, 2006, Breezymeadow from Culpeper, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Flowering Dogwood is a native understory tree in Virginia, & in fact is the State flower.

My farm & the surrounding woodlands fairly explode with the white blossoms in springtime, & the contrast with the also-native Redbuds, which are still blooming around the same time, is spectacular.

As far as cultivated types, I picked up a Pink Flowering Dogwood this past spring during Home Depot's Mother's Day sale (for only $20!!!), & planted it over the grave of my beloved blue Doberman. A solid 5' tall & planted in our lovely red clay soil, with weekly watering when necessary, it did very well, & is covered with buds awaiting this coming spring. Depending on how this one ultimately performs, I may be picking up more come this Mother's Day for a few other select spots around the yard.

Positive raisedbedbob On Jan 30, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

This tree ia a marvelous companion for Azaleas.

Neutral Todd_Boland On Jan 29, 2005, Todd_Boland from St. John's, NL (Zone 5b) wrote:

This is no doubt a beautiful flowering tree, however a note should be made in regards to its reported hardiness. The species is listed as hardy to USDA zone 5. And indeed, it can tolerate the minimum winter temp. of a zone 5. It does, however, require a fairly long warm summer season to ripen the wood properly before winter sets in. For gardeners in a coastal, summer-cool zone 5 (for example Newfoundland, Nova Scotia) this dogwood does very poorly, suffering from severe die-back in winter. For such gardeners, it is better to grow Cornus kousa which is more adapted to cooler summer temps.

Positive TREEHUGR On Nov 13, 2004, TREEHUGR from Now in Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

New comment coming soon

Positive waltandmary On Apr 20, 2004, waltandmary wrote:

Ours has been grown for ten or more years and has had great results. This year, the blooms are down to thirty or so; about 1/4 of what has been the routine of the past. Here in Maryland we had a normal Winter season. Other then a lack of blooms this year, the tree is beautiful and a nice border plant to the end corner of the house.

Positive melody On Apr 16, 2004, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

A beautiful understory tree that lines the edges of our forests here in the South. Their blooms add interest to the pale greens of spring and are quite welcome after a long winter.

They are found in the wild in our area and the hillsides are quite beautiful when a small grove is happened upon.

Positive MotherNature4 On Jan 18, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I live at the southernmost range in central Florida. Only the white variety of Cornus florida will bloom this far south. If we have no frost, flowering will be poor, but it is worth growing.

Positive Toxicodendron On Jul 12, 2003, Toxicodendron from Piedmont, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Just wanted to mention that if you have a big old dead dogwood, it makes fantastic firewood. That is some consolation, at least.

Positive Terry On Aug 30, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

We have several mature dogwoods lining our driveway. They provide wonderful flowers each spring, nice shade all summer, beautiful foliage and berries in the fall (although the berries don't last long - each year, a flock of birds descend on the trees and strip the berries in a matter of minutes!)

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 31, 2001, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Grow in average, medium wet, well-drained soil in sun to part shade. Prefers organically rich, acidic soils in part shade. Benefits from a 4-6" mulch which will help keep roots cool and moist in summer.

Neutral mystic On Aug 15, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a small tree, up to 30 feet in height and 35 feet across, but the typical size is more like 15' tall and 15-20' across. It has a short trunk and a full, rounded crown with horizontal branches often in layered tiers, spreading wider than its height.

The bark on mature trees is broken up into small square blocks. Flowering dogwood has opposite, deciduous midgreen leaves, 3-6" long, which turn red and purple in autumn. Flowering dogwood blooms in the spring, as its new leaves are unfolding, and usually remains showy for 2-3 weeks. The bloom consists of four showy petal-like bracts, usually snow white or pink, surrounding a cluster of tiny yellowish flowers. The bracts are 1-2" long and obovate in shape, usually with a cleft at the tip.

Clusters of bright red football shaped fruits, about a half inch long, follow the flowers and often last into winter. The birds love the berries. Hummingbirds seem to like to stay in it also they make a trip around the yard and always end back up in the Dogwood tree.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

,
Atmore, Alabama
Huntsville, Alabama
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Tuskegee, Alabama
Conway, Arkansas
Malvern, Arkansas
Alameda, California
Sacramento, California
Wilmington, Delaware
Bartow, Florida
Inverness, Florida
Keystone Heights, Florida
Mc Intosh, Florida
Tallahassee, Florida
Trenton, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Cordele, Georgia
Stone Mountain, Georgia
Villa Rica, Georgia
Benton, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Georgetown, Kentucky
Louisville, Kentucky
Coushatta, Louisiana
Plain Dealing, Louisiana
Brookeville, Maryland
Riverdale, Maryland
Valley Lee, Maryland
Lawrence, Massachusetts
North Billerica, Massachusetts
Roslindale, Massachusetts
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Royal Oak, Michigan
Saucier, Mississippi
Cole Camp, Missouri
Fulton, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri
Moberly, Missouri
Piedmont, Missouri
Springfield, Missouri
Sullivan, Missouri
Cranford, New Jersey
Frenchtown, New Jersey
Jamesburg, New Jersey
Whitehouse Station, New Jersey
Willingboro, New Jersey
Medina, New York
New Paltz, New York
Belmont, North Carolina
Durham, North Carolina
Fayetteville, North Carolina
Henderson, North Carolina
Lexington, North Carolina
Mooresville, North Carolina
New Bern, North Carolina
New London, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Summerfield, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina (2 reports)
Akron, Ohio
Ashland, Ohio
Bucyrus, Ohio
Cleveland, Ohio
Columbus, Ohio
Findlay, Ohio
Glouster, Ohio
Salem, Oregon (2 reports)
Springfield, Oregon
Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Pottstown, Pennsylvania
Schwenksville, Pennsylvania
Tidioute, Pennsylvania
Tioga, Pennsylvania
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Bluffton, South Carolina
Rock Hill, South Carolina
Benton, Tennessee
Elizabethton, Tennessee
Greenbrier, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Arlington, Texas
Broaddus, Texas
Conroe, Texas
Dike, Texas
Lufkin, Texas
Nacogdoches, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Arlington, Virginia
Basye, Virginia
Oakton, Virginia
Pullman, Washington
Spokane, Washington
Liberty, West Virginia



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