Photo Gallery: Flowering Dogwood Blooms

Pink Flowering Dogwood Tree

Georgianna Lane / Getty Images

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.

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Pink Dogwood Bracts

Closeup of dogwood bracts and flower

 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.

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Dogwood Berries

Berries and fall foliage of a flowering dogwood

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.

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Dogwood Form

A flowering dogwood tree in full bloom

npage / Getty Images

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.

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White Dogwood Bracts

Closeup of flowering dogwood with white 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.

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Wild Flowering Dogwood

Wild white dogwood against a large oak tree in a forest

Dcrjsr / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Domestic dogwood bracts may be pink or red depending on cultivar but the species color is white in the wild.

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Fallen Dogwood Blooms

Fallen dogwood flowers littering the ground

kazunoriokazaki / Getty Images

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.

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Japanese Dogwood

Japanese Dogwood
Jacky 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