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.

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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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