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Dogwood has a natural range throughout the eastern United States-from southern Maine down to north Florida and west to the Mississippi River. Unfortunately, the tree is being attacked by a disease called dogwood anthracnose and is in some stress at higher elevations.
Flowering dogwood grows 20 to 35 feet tall and spreads 25 to 30 feet. It can be trained with one central trunk or as a multi-trunked tree. The showy "flowers" of the flowering dogwood are, in fact, not flowers but bracts that subtend and surround a group or boss of 20 to 30 real flowers. These true flowers are less than one-quarter inch in size. The actual flowers of Cornus florida are not white.01of 07
Pink Dogwood Bracts
Liz West / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
The flowers consist of four bracts below the small head of yellow flowers. The bracts may be pink or red depending on cultivar but the species color is white.
coniferconifer / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
Some call flowering dogwood the "queen" of North American forests. Graceful branching, unique blossoms, red berries, and red fall foliage makes it unforgettable.03of 07
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Dogwood has a symmetrical canopy with a regular, or smooth, outline. Individual trees have very similar and uniquely species-specific crown forms.
Dogwood branches on the lower half of the crown grow horizontally, those in the upper half are more upright. In time, this can lend a strikingly horizontal impact to the landscape, particularly if some branches are thinned to open up the crown.04of 07
White Dogwood Bracts
Bruce Shippee / Getty Images
Dogwood bracts are white and the actual flower is tiny and yellow. Dogwood flowers are spring bloomers and very showy.05of 07
Wild Flowering Dogwood
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Domestic dogwood bracts may be pink or red depending on cultivar but the species color is white in the wild.06of 07
Fallen Dogwood Blooms
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Flowering dogwood is not suited for parking lot planting but can be grown in a wide street median. Dogwoods prefer and thrive with less than full-day sun and some irrigation. It is a standard tree in many gardens where it is used by the patio for light shade.
Flowering Dogwood prefers a deep, rich, well-drained, sandy or clay soil and has a moderately long life. It is not recommended in heavy, wet soils unless it is grown on a raised bed to keep roots on the dry side. The roots will rot in soils without adequate drainage.07of 07
Japanese DogwoodJacky Parker Photography / Getty Images
Pink-flowering cultivars grow poorly in USDA hardiness zones 8 and 9. Several pink and white dogwood cultivars include:
- Apple Blossom: pink bracts
- Cherokee Chief: red bracts
- Cherokee Princess: white bracts
- Cloud 9: white bracts, flowers young
- Fastigiata: upright growth while young, spreading with age
- First Lady: leaves variegated with yellow turning red and maroon in the fall
- Gigantea: bracts six inches from tip of one bract to tip of opposite bract