Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Pagoda Dogwood

Pagoda Dogwood

Cornus alternifolia

Full sun to light shade; medium moisture level; grows best in moderately coarse loamy sands, medium loams to moderately fine silt loams; slightly acid to neutral pH.

15-25 feet height by 15-25 feet spread; creamy white flowers in wide, flat-topped clusters in May; handsome bluish-purple fruit on red stems in summer.

Growth Rate: Slow initially and medium when established

Maintenance: Low maintenance. Infrequent disease and insect problems. Can suffer badly from powdery mildew in some years. Benefits from mulching the root zone.

Propagation: Seed germination codes C (60), F.   Difficult by softwood cuttings which must go through a winter dormancy.

Native Region: Eastern half of the state

Graceful, tiered, small understory tree. Distinctive horizontal branching habit gives it a tiered appearance and hence its common name. Attractive flowers have a musky, sweet aroma. Best grown in acidic, organically rich, moist soil in part sun. Use as a specimen planting or in small groupings, also attractive in shrub borders, woodland gardens and naturalized areas. Fall foliage is a dull maroon color. Cultivars available.

Attracts birds and butterflies. Fruits are dry and bitter to humans but are gladly eaten by a variety birds and mammals that quickly strip fruit from the tree, including grouse, pheasants, wild turkeys, squirrels, and songbirds.   Larval host for Spring Azure butterfly.


One response to “Pagoda Dogwood

  1. Nina Hedrick November 12, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    I planted a small Pagoda Dogwood several years ago, and it has since grown very tall and especially very wide. It is so beautiful that I am making room for it.by moving a garden path. This site gives such wonderful information on TN Natives, that I’m making it one of my go-to sources for research. Thank you from Northeast TN.

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