Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Flowering Dogwood

Flowering Dogwood

Cornus florida

Sun to light shade; medium to moderately dry moisture level; moderately coarse sandy loams, loams to fine sandy clays, silty clays, and clay soils; moderately to slightly acid pH.

12-30 feet height by 8-15 feet spread; white or pink flowers in April and May; egg-shaped, bright scarlet-red berries in fall.

Growth Rate: Slow upon transplanting and gradually to a medium rate

Maintenance: Susceptible to a number of pests and diseases including anthracnose disease which causes leaves and twigs to die back, mildew, borers and various petal and leaf spots. The more stressed the tree, the more likely it will become infested with borers. Site dogwoods for good air circulation which helps prevent anthracnose disease. Suffers from frequent and severe crown die-back in droughty seasons.

This species does not adapt well to fall planting because the root system takes several months to adapt after planting and/or because it is unusually susceptible to winter damage.  It is best saved for spring planting.  However, you can often justify the risk by finding exceptional bargains in the fall when many garden centers are motivated to reduce their stock.

Propagation: Easy from seed. Can be grown from seed planted ½ inch deep in late winter. Easy to moderately difficult from cuttings.

Native Region: Statewide

Often considered one of the most beautiful of the native flowering trees. Small understory tree that may have either a single trunk or be multi-trunked. Striking, long lasting flowers. Very showy, scarlet-red berries. Scarlet red to purplish foliage in fall. If planted in full sun and areas of limited water, tree will gradually decline and eventually die. Many cultivars available. University of Tennessee has introduced several anthracnose-resistant cultivars in its Appalachian series, including Appalachian Spring.

Berries provide food for diverse group of wildlife including birds, large and small mammals, and browsers. Attracts butterflies and bees. Larval food for Spring Azure butterfly. Very high wildlife value.


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