Botanical Name: Cornus florida
Common Name: Dogwood, Flowering Dogwood, Virginia Dogwood, Florida Dogwood, White Cornel, Arrowwood, American Boxwood, False Box, St. Peter’s Crown, Corona De San Pedro
Description: Flowering dogwoods grow to a height of 35- 40′. It is a shrub or small, low-branched tree usually with a flat-topped crown, oval or ovate leaves, about 3-6″ long and 1-3″ wide. Creamy-white flowers with four petals each appear in early spring. A deciduous tree, dogwoods are most often found growing in forested, shady areas under other hardwoods and pines. The beautiful white bloom of the dogwood is one of the first signs of spring in East Texas forests. While pretty to look at, the flowering dogwood provides food for many Pineywoods animals. Red fruits develop in the fall. Mammals, from squirrels to deer, and at least 28 bird species, eat the fruit. Seeds are dispersed through animal droppings and germinate the following spring. Flowering dogwoods live up to about 80 years. Flowering dogwood grows best in moist soils, but will grow in drier habitats. They like to grow in the shade of larger trees as understory plants. Although the fruits are poisonous to humans, in the late 1700s, colonists made a tea from dogwood bark to reduce fevers and soothe colds. The wood of the dogwood tree is used today to make small tools and ornaments. It has been under cultivation in North America since the 1730s. Today, flowering dogwoods are popular landscaping trees. They are moderate growers, 1-2′ per year, resilient, and beautiful as an accent plant. Drought tolerant once established, but do best with 1″ of water per week. The Dogwood leaves turn a beautiful dark red color in the fall before dropping.
This is the host plant for the Spring Azure butterfly. It is of special value to native bees, and supports conservation biological control (meaning it attracts all the good bugs to your garden).
Dogwoods need acidic soil, and grow best in rich, well-drained, acid soil that is sandy, sandy loam, or medium loam. They can grow in clay soils, but be sure to mix lots of organic matter into the hole and to top dress it once a year with compost.
Dogwoods can get a fungus called Dogwood Anthracnose (Discula destructiva). It can be controlled by the use of organic bio-stimulants. Bio-stimulants contain a natural blend of sugars, bacteria, humic acid, sea kelp extract, and good fungi. This mix naturally fertilizes the soil and provides your tree with the food they need to grow and maintain overall wellness. Bio-stimulants support the immune system of the tree so they are better equipped to resist and survive an attack of Dogwood Anthracnose. Prune out any diseased branches/stems and rake up all leaves under the tree to stop the spores from spreading. A fungicide rated for spot anthracnose can be also be used. But keeping your tree healthy is the best way to prevent the disease from attacking the tree.
Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray.
This plant in 3-gallon containers is 2-3′ tall.
This plant in 7-gallon containers is 3-5′ tall.
Plant Lore: The common name, dogwood, comes from England. Years ago, people there used the bark of the bloodtwig dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) to bathe mangy dogs. On this continent, flowering dogwood has been used by Native Americans to make scarlet dyes and tinctures.
Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9