In light shade this small (around 20 ft ), deciduous tree creates a beautiful understory. It’s brilliant with blossoms in spring, lush through summertime, ablaze with autumn color, and striking if its layered construction is shown in winter. Unsurprisingly, it’s many people’s favourite flowering shrub. Many cultivars and related species offer variety in size, form, color, and adaptation.
Before the leaves of flowering dogwood appear in spring, buds at the twig tips swell into showy 2 to 4-inch white flowers of four and sometimes six petals. (These”petals” are technically bracts, along with the tiny”stamens” at the middle of each”flower” are the true flowers.) Glossy scarlet berries in lean clusters last into winter or until birds have stripped them.
Leaves are dark green ovals to 6 inches long and 3 inches wide; in fall they turn reddish or burgundy-red.
Flowering dogwood prefers light color; in its native habitat it’s filtered color from trees that are blossom. Acid well-drained soil is necessary. Roots need moisture and protection against extreme heat. Mulch helps to provide both, and keeps soil acidity since it decays. Branches may be thinned to emphasize structure.
Several types of Cornus ornus florida are available. Check with your nursery for local hardiness of the various species and varieties. ‘Cherokee Chief’ has rich rose-red blossoms and a rather upright habit. ‘Cherokee Princess’ has an abundance of white flowers. ‘Cloud 9′ creates white flowers early and very profusely. It takes temperature extremes much better than the species. C Amp plena has double white flowers. ‘Rainbow’ has white flowers, and yellow-and-green leaves which colour brilliantly in late summer and early fall. C f welchii has variegated grayish green leaves with irregular pink-and-white margins.
All species grow in light shade, unless the other exposure is specified.
C. alba sibirica (Siberian Dogwood) is a 6 or 7-foot shrub with clusters of tiny white flowers
Andin cold-winter areas, startling coral-red branches.
C. canadensis (Bunchberry) is a deciduous ground cover 5 to 9 inches high, appropriate for shaded woodland settings. It generates small heads of yellow flowers surrounded by showy white bracts. In late summer and fall it bears bright red berries that are edible.
C. kousa (Kousa Dogwood) is occasionally multistemmed, has 2 to 3-inch white flowers with pointed petals, and bears fruit. C. k. chinensis has bigger flowers.
Fruit is edible. It will stretch branches and flowers from a partially shaded spot to a deeply shaded one.
C stolonifera (C. sericea) (Red-Osier Dogwood) is a very hardy shrub that could form a thicket. It takes constant moisture. Flowers are white, in tiny clusters. Berries are bluish. C. s.’Flaviramea’ has red twigs.
C. sessilis (Black-Fruit Dogwood), a large shrub or small tree indigenous to the West Coast, has jade-green foliage, tiny whitish flowers, and glistening black fruit. It’ll accept a lot of wetness and develops well in moderate shade.