Consider Planting Flowering Dogwood in Your Yard

flowering dogwood tree
Domestic dogwood. (Steve Nix)

Flowering dogwood is the state tree of Virginia and Missouri and the state flower of North Carolina. It is an extremely popular flowering tree in American landscapes, is beautiful in every season and a sturdy tree that can be grown in most yards.

Flowering dogwood opens white flowers in April, usually before the leaf display, and will show off and enhance any spring landscape. If planted on a hospitable site and under a canopy of larger trees, the tree grows fast, sleek and slim - but it will be less sleek and more husky when grown in open sun.

Unfortunately, the tree is too often planted on dry, sunny and alkaline soils and the grower misses its full potential.

Habit and Planting

Dogwood grows readily from seed but is not easy to transplant. You will do best by buying a potted tree at your garden center or bare-root tree at a nursery. You can buy bulk bare-root stock at very reasonable prices from the Arbor Day Foundation if you are a member.

Always move dogwood with a complete root ball in the early spring and place the transplant a little high in the planting hole. Understory dogwood is a medium tree of about 40 feet with wispy stems. The dogwood occupies a large eastern north-south range in North America - from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The tree is not very hardy if planted beyond its genetic home region so pick a local variety.

Strong Cultivars

There are white, red and blended versions of flowering dogwood. Some of the most popular dogwood cultivars are 'Cherokee Chief,' 'Cherokee Princess,' 'First Lady,' 'Rubra,' 'New Hampshire,' and 'Appalachian Spring.' Many of these can only be found in local nurseries in the region where the cultivar does best.

Flowering Dogwood Plant Hardiness Zone

Flowering dogwood is hardy through zone 5.

Expert Comments

"The king of spring in the eastern United States and southern Ontario, flowering dogwood may be the most spectacular flowering tree native to our region." - Guy Sternberg

"Small, stunning ornamental trees of early spring, with long-lasting summer beauty and red fall color.

Their unique blossoms inspire myths, festivals, and vandalism."- Arthur Plotnik

"Many gardeners consider this species the aristocrat of small flowering trees, and this claim is not unjustified...The handsome 3-to 4-in.-diameter, white flowers open in April and May, usually before the leaves, and are the envy of every landscape plant."- Michael Dirr

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Your Citation
Nix, Steve. "Consider Planting Flowering Dogwood in Your Yard." ThoughtCo, Apr. 16, 2017, Nix, Steve. (2017, April 16). Consider Planting Flowering Dogwood in Your Yard. Retrieved from Nix, Steve. "Consider Planting Flowering Dogwood in Your Yard." ThoughtCo. (accessed December 18, 2017).