In search of lovely, fascinating crops that amaze, astound, and astonish? Sounds such as you’re in want of a dogwood or two.
It’s uncommon for crops to have engaging leaves, bark, flowers, fruits, and varieties. For many crops, often no less than a type of qualities is taken into account aesthetically meh, if not bleh.
Not dogwoods, although – these have a score of 5 stars just about throughout the board.
We hyperlink to distributors that can assist you discover related merchandise. If you happen to purchase from certainly one of our hyperlinks, we might earn a fee.
And though they’re metaphorically and actually overshadowed by bigger bushes, understory species like dogwoods have their deserves. For a gardener seeking to pepper their panorama with fairly ornamentals that don’t dwarf their house, Cornus species have loads to supply.
So strap your self in, pricey reader. We’ll be discussing easy methods to domesticate these beautiful crops and easy methods to finest use them in your panorama. We’ll additionally cowl a handful of our favourite species.
Right here’s what we’ll be moving into:
What Are Dogwoods?
Containing 57 at present acknowledged species of bushes, shrubs, subshrubs, and even perennial floor covers, the Cornus genus is a part of the Cornaceae household together with its sister genus Alangium.
Collectively hardy in USDA Zones 2 to 10, species of Cornus are distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America.
In america, you may just about discover a species of dogwood in any area of the nation, save for the most well liked and driest of climates.
Taxonomists have recognized 4 clades throughout the genus: blue- or white-fruited varieties, big-bract varieties, dwarf varieties, and cornelian cherries, although these descriptions are seldom utilized by gardeners or horticulturalists.
The title Cornus comes from the Latin phrase cornu, that means “laborious” – a reference to the tremendous dense and fine-grained wooden of dogwood species.
Talking of frequent Cornus traits, let’s go over what dogwoods usually appear to be.
Most species have easy, ovate, deciduous, and oppositely organized leaves with parallel, arching leaf veins. A wealthy inexperienced or variegated in the course of the rising season, these leaves have a tendency to show a deep burgundy purple in fall.
Anytime from late winter to early summer time, Cornus species bloom with flowers which have constructions in fours: 4 lobes, 4 petals, and 4 stamens.
The flowers themselves aren’t all that showy, however they’re encased in the midst of 4 to 6 petal-like leaf bracts which may be purple, inexperienced, gold, yellow, pink, and/or white, relying on the species or cultivar.
Once they’re in full bloom, dogwoods entice many pollinating bugs, from bees to butterflies to moths. After pollination, the flowers give strategy to purple, bluish-black, or white drupes, which are a magnet for hungry birds and mammals.
Together with spreading by way of seed dispersal, dogwood species can develop by way of underground rhizomes and even by rooting the guidelines of decrease branches.
Dogwoods are available many alternative sizes, relying on the species.
Some, like the bottom cowl C. canadensis, prime out at simply 4 inches tall and unfold just about indefinitely.
Others, just like the red-stemmed C. sericea or its yellow-stemmed cultivars, are your moderately-sized, stereotypical shrubs. Different tree-like species can attain heights of 45 toes and spreads of 40 toes in cultivation!
Cultivation and Historical past
Dogwoods have a wealthy historical past of cultivation, and the origin of the distinctly distinctive and fascinating title can’t be mentioned with a slam-dunk surety.
The title “dogwood” is assumed to come back from a colonial description of flowering dogwood fruits being edible, but the style not being match for a canine. The laborious, powerful wooden was additionally used for setting up skewers – i.e. “canines” – in order that could possibly be the reason, too. Take your decide!
The wooden has been used throughout many cultures for setting up weapons, device handles, loom shuttles, golf membership heads, jeweler’s bins, butcher blocks, and plenty of different gadgets that want to have the ability to face up to sturdy hits and excessive forces with out taking harm.
Not all Cornus fruits are really useful for human consumption, however amongst these which can be, some are fairly tasty!
The cornelian cherry (C. mas) specifically has discovered some fame because the tastiest of the dogwood fruits, and is utilized in scrumptious candy treats to today.
It was additionally used again in Historical Greece and Rome to dye fezzes, deal with dysentery, and relieve gastrointestinal stress – and has even been talked about within the literature of Homer and Ovid!
Many different species have had quite a lot of purposes all through historical past.
Extracts from the leaves of the Pagoda dogwood (C. alternifolia) have been utilized in conventional Chinese language drugs as an analgesic, a diuretic, and a tonic.
Native Individuals used components of the flowering dogwood to deal with colic and fevers, and even to make purple dye. In the course of the American Civil Warfare, the tree’s leaves got here in helpful for making tea and as an alternative to quinine in compound tinctures.
And naturally, dogwoods are beloved on this planet of decorative landscaping… that’s in all probability why you’re right here, in any case.
Many dogwood species will be grown from seed or propagated from cuttings.
You can even buy nursery begins and saplings to transplant into the backyard. Let’s go over these methods, so as of descending problem.
However simply as a reminder, there are a lot of completely different dogwoods on the market, so the next ideas are saved deliberately normal.
First issues first: you’ll want seeds. These will be purchased from a good vendor, acquired from a good friend, and even gathered your self.
To collect seeds, you’ll first want to reap the fruits they develop in, once they’re ripe. To make sure ripeness, solely collect the fruits as soon as they’ve dropped to the bottom.
While you’ve gathered the fruits, you’ll must mash them as much as extract the seeds. You are able to do this by hand, with a mortar and pestle, or you may even use a blender.
Take away the seeds from the mashed fruits, set them on a strainer, and rinse off the pulp with water. You can even put the seeds in water, which is able to separate the pulp naturally. This will even separate viable seeds from non-viable ones, as the nice seeds will sink and the duds will float.
You’ll be able to both sow your Cornus seeds outdoor instantly in fall, or cold-stratify them earlier than sowing in spring. To stratify, partially fill a plastic baggie with a 50:50 mixture of peat moss and perlite, stick the seeds in, moisten the media, and depart the baggie within the fridge till spring.
Come spring, place the seeds half an inch deep in a seed tray full of an identical peat/perlite combine, moisten the media, and set the container subsequent to a sunny indoor window. Present even moisture, however don’t enable the soil to develop into waterlogged.
When the seeds germinate and develop into seedlings, skinny them out and/or repot them as wanted to provide them sufficient room to develop, all of the whereas protecting the soil moist.
After they attain an acceptable dimension – about three to 4 inches in peak – they’ll be sufficiently big to maneuver outdoor.
When the ultimate frost date passes, you’ll must harden off the seedlings earlier than transplanting. To do that, take the containers outdoors for 30 to 60 minutes earlier than bringing them again inside.
Every subsequent day, add a further half to full hour of out of doors time till they’ll spend a full day outdoor. From right here, you may transplant!
Anytime in the course of the summer time months, take four- to six-inch cuttings of softwood to semi-hardwood shoot tissue, relying on the species you’re propagating.
Take these cuttings from the distal – or terminal – ends of shoots, and make your cuts with a pointy and sterile blade.
Defoliate the underside half of every chopping, and dip the reduce ends in a little bit of IBA rooting hormone to assist with root formation.
If you happen to don’t have any rooting hormone powder, you will discover Bonide Bontone II obtainable from Arbico Organics.
Bonide Bontone II Rooting Hormone
Put together a three- to four-inch container full of a 50:50 mixture of peat and perlite for every chopping, then stick mentioned cuttings in, two to a few inches deep. Moisten the media and place the containers subsequent to a sunny window indoors.
Hold the media moist because the cuttings take root. When the cuttings have rooted and grown a few new leaves, they are going to be able to harden off such as you would with seedlings earlier than transplanting.
By way of Transplanting
Earlier than you transplant, be sure that your planting website has the correct publicity to your chosen species. Moreover, just be sure you’re transplanting into wealthy, loamy, and well-draining soil with a pH of 5.0 to eight.0.
Whether or not you’re transplanting a seedling, a rooted chopping, or a nursery begin, be sure that your planting website supplies sufficient room for the transplant to succeed in its mature peak and unfold with out bumping into buildings, walkways, or different crops.
The very best transplanting occasions are spring, after the final frost, and fall, a few weeks earlier than your common first frost date.
Seedlings and rooted cuttings merely want a transplant gap that’s massive sufficient to accomodate their root programs.
For container crops from the nursery, you’ll must make the opening a bit wider than the containers they arrive in, so you’ve gotten room to work.
Gently take away the plant from its container, and set it within the gap. Backfill with soil, and water in effectively.
Naked root specimens needs to be soaked in water for a number of hours earlier than transplanting. As soon as it’s time, dig a gap, make a mound of soil on the backside, and unfold the roots out over it.
Alternate backfilling with watering till the opening is stuffed in, give it one last watering, and also you’re finished!
Including a little bit of natural matter like compost to the soil you backfill with can present your soil with some additional fertility to get your transplants off to a great begin.
To your child transplants, actually keep on prime of watering till they develop into established in a yr or two.
All of the completely different dogwood species have loads in frequent by way of their rising wants. For catch-all Cornus cultivation, let’s go over what works.
Local weather and Publicity Wants
If you happen to’re anyplace in USDA Hardiness Zones 2 to 10, there’s a dogwood species for you – however not all Cornus species are appropriate for all Zones.
On the whole, dogwoods thrive in full solar to partial shade, relying on the species, and a few can tolerate full shade.
It’s all about discovering that good steadiness between simply sufficient solar to induce flowering, with out scorching the leaves.
Wealthy, well-draining loam with a pH of 5.0 to eight.0 ought to serve your specimens effectively as they develop and mature. You’ll be able to conduct a soil check to verify if the soil in your backyard wants any particular amendments.
You could have to make some species-specific changes, however since dogwoods can usually deal with most soils so long as they aren’t bone-dry or soggy, don’t sweat this an excessive amount of.
Common amendments of natural matter assist preserve soil wealthy, so work one to 2 inches of compost or well-rotted manure into your crops’ root zones each spring.
Water and Fertilizer Wants
Many Cornus species want a soil that’s saved moist, no less than more often than not.
So be sure you water each time the highest few inches dry out, within the absence of rain, and undoubtedly each time you may’t attain moist soil with a soil knife.
Often, supplemental fertilizer isn’t obligatory in the event you carry on prime of your humus amendments each spring. But when your soil is very poor, you may apply a balanced 10-10-10 (NPK) fertilizer in spring.
- Present full solar to partial shade.
- Make annual amendments of humus in spring.
- If you happen to preserve with humus amendments, then supplemental fertilizer shouldn’t be obligatory.
Pruning and Upkeep
Some species put out suckers at their base, which needs to be pruned ASAP to maintain up appearances. You must also take away useless, diseased, or dying branches everytime you occur to note them.
As for devoted classes of pruning that form your plant’s kind and enhance airflow, these needs to be finished in spring, simply earlier than bud break.
Relying on the kind of dogwood, you could not form the plant in any respect, however fairly go for the “au naturel” look.
Fallen leaves needs to be raked up after they drop, until you’ve bought a woodland backyard going. And all the time keep a two- to four-inch layer of mulch over the basis zone – that’ll suppress weed progress, preserve moisture, shield the roots, and simply look actual purty.
In winter, you may stop your watering whereas the bottom is frozen.
Dogwood Species to Choose
With 57 Cornus species to think about, you’re spoilt for alternative! Are you on the lookout for a tree, a shrub, or perhaps some floor cowl?
You actually can’t go flawed with a Cornus, and if you wish to learn extra in regards to the various kinds of dogwood, take a look at our information to 23 of the perfect varieties.
Let’s go over some top-tier species:
Hardy in Zones 4 to eight, C. mas originates from west Asia, together with the central and southern areas of Europe.
Reaching heights of 15 to 25 toes and spreads of 12 to 18 toes, this tree bursts with yellow flowers in March, which later give strategy to purple or yellow olive-shaped drupes.
Together with being tremendous appetizing to birds and small mammals, these cornels are what make the cornelian cherry well-known, as they’re fairly scrumptious to people.
For a cornelian cherry tree of your personal, take a look at FastGrowingTrees.com.
Be taught extra about easy methods to develop cornelian cherries in our information.
The one floor cowl on our record, C. canadensis doesn’t let its “vertically challenged” standing detract from its aesthetics.
A local of east Asia, Greenland, and northern North America, the creeping dogwood is hardy in USDA Zones 2 to six – the colder, the higher.
Reaching a peak of three to 9 inches, this plant has the potential to unfold indefinitely by way of its creeping rhizomes, albeit very slowly.
Blooming in late spring to early summer time, the clusters of true flowers are inexperienced and discreet, however they’re surrounded by 4 white flower bracts, that are fairly showy. Later, the flowers give strategy to small, scarlet-red berries, which is able to delight the birds.
Native to southeastern Canada and jap components of Mexico and america, C. florida reaches heights of 15 to 35 toes and spreads of 15 to 40 toes.
Hardy in Zones 5 to 9, this tree arguably boasts the perfect blooms of the bunch.
Rising in mid-spring, the true flowers have a backdrop of 4 beautiful white leaf bracts, every with a maroon notch on the tip. After pollination, the flowers are finally changed with clusters of shiny purple drupes.
There are a lot of flowering dogwood cultivars obtainable with blooms in quite a lot of colours.
You could find flowering dogwood with white flowers in #1, #2, and #3 containers obtainable from Nature Hills Nursery.
For extra details about easy methods to develop flowering dogwoods, learn our information.
A number of dogwoods cope with pests and illness on the common. Not C. kousa, although – this east Asian native is immune to many frequent Cornus considerations.
Hardy in Zones 5 to eight, the kousa dogwood reaches heights and spreads of 15 to 30 toes, and flaunts beautiful white to pinkish flowers in late spring that, if pollinated, finally yield fruits that look loads like raspberries.
You could find kousa dogwoods in quite a lot of sizes, from two- to seven-feet, obtainable at FastGrowingTrees.com.
And be sure you give our C. kousa information a learn to study extra about rising this species!
Hardy in Zones 7 to 9, C. nuttallii is basically the flowering dogwood of the western United States and southern British Columbia.
Reaching heights of 15 to 40 toes and spreads of 10 to 25 toes, this tree has spring-blooming flowers with six white leaf bracts and fruits that appear to be a cross between these of C. florida and C. kousa.
If you happen to’re jonesing for a flowering dogwood but reside within the western US, then C. nuttallii is the one for you.
Native to jap North America and hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 7, C. alternifolia is notable because of its – you guessed it – alternately organized foliage.
Rising 15 to 25 toes tall and 20 to 32 toes broad, pagoda dogwoods bloom in late spring with small, yellow, bractless flowers that finally yield small blue-black clusters of drupes that develop on purple stems.
You could find C. alternifolia obtainable at Nature Hills Nursery.
Want some pagoda dogwood data? Give our information a gander.
What makes purple twig dogwoods particular? It’s proper there within the title!
A North American native that’s hardy in USDA Zones 2 to 7, C. sericea, aka purple osier dogwood, has vivid purple stems – an superior hue for a leafless, snowy panorama!
In late spring, this shrub produces white, flat-topped flowers, which later give strategy to clusters of globose white berries.
Pink Twig Dogwood
Rising six to 9 toes tall and 7 to 10 toes broad, this purple twig dogwood is a compact magnificence.
You could find crops obtainable at Nature Hills Nursery.
There are different species additionally generally often known as purple twig dogwoods and you may study all of them in our information. (coming quickly!)
Native to northern China, North Korea, and Siberia, C. alba is a group participant – a mass or line of them seems to be higher than one by itself.
Hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 7, the tatarian dogwood is fairly moderately-sized, with a mature peak and unfold of eight to 10 toes.
In late spring, these shrubs bloom with clusters of small, yellowish-white true flowers, which finally yield lovely clusters of spherical white drupes.
Moreover, the stems of this plant flip blood purple for the winter, a stunning change from the red-streaked inexperienced of the rising season stems.
‘Elegantissima’ is a captivating variegated cultivar, sporting gentle inexperienced and cream foliage that turns purple in fall, earlier than dropping to disclose the intense purple stems.
You could find ‘Elegantissima’ obtainable at Nature Hills Nursery.
Managing Pests and Illness
Pests and ailments could cause all kinds of points, from purely aesthetic issues to debilitating illness, and as a complete, dogwoods are fairly prone to loads of them.
Contemplate this the Achilles heel that makes these in any other case good crops imperfect.
On the whole, there are a bunch of ideas and tips for protecting issues at bay. Two of the neatest issues you are able to do are cultivating your dogwood correctly and sanitizing your instruments between pruning completely different specimens.
Fortunately, these bushes are deer-resistant. However there are many different pests that may wreck a dogwood.
You’ve bought your all-too-common aphids, scale, and mealybugs, in addition to the dogwood-specific borers, membership gall midges, and sawflies.
Mammal-wise, you could cope with hungry chipmunks, raccoons, and even black-bears – if they’re frequent in your area!
You’ll have loads of potential issues on the illness entrance, too. Powdery mildew, Discula anthracnose, and root rots are however just a few of the ailments you might have to cope with.
You’ll be able to study extra about dogwood ailments and easy methods to deal with them in our information.
Greatest Makes use of for Dogwoods
Individually, species of dogwoods are extra appropriate for sure panorama conditions than others. However when unified because the Cornus genus, there’s not a lot they’ll’t do.
If you happen to want a plant for establishing a border, inserting alongside a house basis, grouping in a cluster, including to a local backyard, attracting wildlife, rising beneath a cover as an understory planting, or displaying as a specimen… don’t fear. There’s a dogwood for the job.
Fast Reference Rising Information
|Panorama bushes, woody shrubs and subshrubs, perennial creeping floor covers
|Inexperienced, gold, pink, purple, white, yellow/inexperienced, variegated
|Asia, Europe, North America
|Hardiness (USDA Zone):
|2-10, relying on species
|Deer, full shade
|Late winter to early summer time
|Wealthy, loamy, moist
|Full solar to half shade
|Time to Maturity:
|2-7 years or extra
|Width of mature unfold
|Birds, bugs, mammals
|1/2 inch (seed), depth of root system (transplants)
|Makes use of:
|Border plantings, basis plantings, groupings, native gardens, specimens, wildlife attraction, woodland gardens
|4 inches to 45 toes, relying on species
|Indefinite (floor cowl) to 40 toes, relying on species
|Widespread Pests and Illnesses:
|Aphids, dogwood borer, membership gall midge, mealybugs, sawfly, scale; dogwood anthracnose, fungal leaf spot, powdery mildew
|Alba, alternifolia, canadensis, florida, kousa, mas, nuttallii, serica
Doggone It, the Information Is Already Over?!?
’Fraid so, amigo. That’s the way in which the cookie crumbles. Different hokey sayings.
However sure, hopefully you’ve gained a ton of dogwood know-how from this information. From right here, you’ll have the ability to adorn your panorama with a stunning Cornus or two. How’s that for superior?
Nonetheless have questions? Brimming with your personal knowledge to share? The feedback part awaits you all.
And if you wish to study extra about bushes and shrubs to your panorama, learn these guides subsequent: