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Flowering Dogwood

Cornus florida

Flowering Dogwood

General Information

Flowering Dogwood is a flowering deciduous, low-branching, broadly-pyramidal but somewhat flat-topped understory tree. Flowering Dogwood is moderately difficult to grow.

Flowering Dogwood is typically found growing under larger forest trees and at woodland edges. It prefers morning sun and afternoon shade. Flowering Dogwood prefers rich, well-drained, slightly-acidic to neutral soil and a two to four-inch layer of mulch to keep the roots cool and moist in hot summers. These requirements can make it challenging to grow in a landscape setting.

Flowering Dogwood’s “flowers” are actually four white petal-like bracts that give the flower the appearance of a single large flower. Flowering Dogwood blooms in April, shortly after redbuds bloom.

Flowering Dogwood was used for carvings, looms, and disinfectant by Native Americans. The wood is hard, heavy, close-grained and strong. The wood was used for textile shuttles and spools and for tool handles.

Plant Information

Plant Type:

Deciduous tree

Sun Preference:

Part Sun * Shade

Soil Moisture Preference:

Medium-Wet * Medium * Medium-Dry

Plant Height:

15 to 30 feet

Plant Width:

15 to 30 feet

Plant Spacing:

10 to 15 feet

Flower Color:


Flower timing:

April to May

Culture Information:

Flowering Dogwood can be challenging to grow in urban settings because they’re generally understory trees in nature. They benefit from afternoon shade in Tennessee. They’re effective in woodlands, bird gardens, cottage gardens, or native plant gardens. Using along a woodland edge with other gardens in front of them provides a more natural use.

When first planted, Flowering Dogwood should be watered weekly for first few months, unless at least an inch of rain has been received in the last week to help it get established. After it becomes established, Flowering Dogwood typically needs watering only during severe drought.

Flowering Dogwood is a low-maintenance tree, with maintenance generally limited to removing dead branches. Proper siting and the use of mulch over the roots mulch will help maintain soil moisture and reduce plant stress during hot summer months. Because deer browse on Flowering Dogwood, it may need protection until it grows tall enough.


Clay Soil
Black Walnut

Pests & Disease:

Flowering Dogwood is affected by Calico Scale, Dogwood Borer, Dogwood Sawfly, Japanese Maple Scale, Leafhoppers, and Oyster Shell Scale. All are problem pests.

Flowering Dogwood is susceptible to a rather large number of disease problem when stressed. Spot Anthracnose is common, but trees are also susceptible to Powdery Mildew, Leaf Spot, Canker, Root Rot, Bacterial Leaf Scorch, and Septoria Leaf Spot.

Flowering Dogwood does not withstand pollution.

Wildlife Use:

Pollinators: Flowering Dogwood’s nectar is attractive to butterflies. It is a host plant for the Spring Azure butterfly and supports the specialized bees Andrena fragilis, Andrena integra, and Andrena platyparia.

Birds: Many species of birds are attracted to Flowering Dogwood’s red fruits. Fruits are eaten by songbirds, ruffed grouse, quail, and turkey.

Mammals: Fruits are also eaten by chipmunks, black bear, foxes, white-tailed deer, skunks, and squirrels. Flowering Dogwood is browsed by deer.

Other: N/A.

Native to:

East Tennessee including Knox and surrounding counties

More Information:
NC State Plant Database:
Missouri Botanical Garden:
TN-KY Plant Atlas

Other Link:

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