Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)

Tried and True Native Plant Selections for the Mid-Atlantic

Commonly found in the forest understory or as a landscape ornamental, this high wildlife value native with four-season interest is far from ordinary. This beauty serves as North Carolina state flower and Missouri state tree. In Virginia, it is both the official floral and the official arboreal emblem of the Commonwealth. The Virginia Native Plant Society honored Flowering Dogwood as Wildflower of the Year in 2018.

Print Version: Cornus florida (Flowering Dogwood)Tree Height: 15–30 feet Spread: 15–30 feet Bloom Color: White Characteristics Pyramidal to flat-topped, small deciduous tree or large shrub with low, horizontal branching habit Oval, medium green leaves with smooth marginsFour showy, white (at times pink-tinted), petal-like bracts (each about 2 inches long) frame 3⁄4-inch, yellow-green flower clusters that bloom April to May Green ovoid fruits (drupes) mature to red late summer Showy fall foliage in shades of red to purplishDistinctive gray to brown, square-plated mature bark Attributes Tolerates clay soil, black walnut; intolerant of stress like heat & drought; susceptible to pests (like borers) & diseases (like powdery mildew, leaf spot & possibly lethal dogwood anthracnose) esp. when stressedDeer and rabbits occasionally severely damageAttracts small bees & flies to flowers; song birds, wild turkey, woodpecker, squirrels, chipmunks to fruit Growing and Maintenance Tips Soil Requirements: Well-drained, average, acidic Light Requirements: Sun, Partial Shade Water Requirements: Moist To help prevent anthracnose, site where foliage won’t remain wet for long periods or in sunnier spots Use as a specimen, near patios, in woodland and native gardens, and in naturalistic settings *Common throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region except it is absent in the northernmost counties of PA and–despite its common name–in higher mountain elevations. Hardiness: USDA Zones 5-9 Excellent Replacement for Acer tataricum var. ginnala - Amur Maple Cornus kousa - Japanese Dogwood Paulownia tomentosa - Princess TreeLearn more about other Mid-Atlantic plants: Tried and True Plant Fact Sheets