Flowering Dogwood

Scientific Name:  Cornus florida

Light: Part Shade

Zone: 5 to 9

Height:  20 to 50 feet

Width:   20 to 50 feet

Flowers:  showy, April to May, white

Fruit/Seed:  September to December, red to orange berry

Fall Color:  scarlet red

Butterflies: Spring Azure host; nectar

Birds:   The fruit is choice fall and winter food of the bobwhite, cedar waxwing, cardinal, flicker, mockingbird, robin, wild turkey, and woodpecker.  Summer cover & nest sites.

Hummingbird:  The flowers provide early spring pollen for hummingbirds.

Deer Resistant:  No, Occasionally Severely Damaged

Insects/Pollinators:  The flowers provide early spring pollen and nectar for bees.

Native: Carroll and all of Maryland

Idea Garden:

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Flowering dogwood is popular as a specimen or small grouping on residential property around homes, near patios or in lawns.  It is also effective in woodland, bird or native plant gardens.   Dogwoods are poor choices for street trees because they do not tolerate heat and pollution.

Bright red berries are an important food source for songbirds including evening grosbeak, cardinals, robins, cedar waxwings, and fall migrants.

The fruit is eaten by fall migrant birds, gray squirrel and fox squirrel.

Flowering dogwood, when stressed by poorly drained soils or fully exposed locations with limited moisture , is susceptible to a rather large number of insect and disease problems, the most serious of which is dogwood anthracnose.


Dwarf forms (such as ‘Compacta’) and fastigiate plants (such as ‘Fastigiata’)  are rarely available.

‘Appalachian Spring’ – highly resistant to anthracnose

‘Cherokee Brave’ –  red, with deep pink bracts that have a white center, 15′ tall.

‘Cherokee Chief’ – red

‘Cherokee Daybreak’  – variegated  with white-margined leaves that age to pink in fall. Flower bracts are white.

‘Cherokee Princess’ – very large white flowers, blooms heavily

‘Cherokee Sunset’ – red with variegated foliage that is marked with pink/yellow.  25′ tall

‘Cloud 9’ –  white overlapping bracts, very heavy bloomer

‘Pendula’ – weeping white.

‘Plena’ – double white

var rubra (‘Rubra’) – flowers that range from pink to reddish

‘Welchii’ – variegated with a mixture of green, cream and pink. Flowers are white and the fall color is rose red.

‘Xanthocarpa’ – unusual yellow fruits and white flowers.


Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Flowering Dogwood – USDA Plant Fact Sheet

Flowering Dogwood – Missouri Botanical Garden

Flowering Dogwood – University of Connecticut Plant Database

Landscape Plants Rated by Deer Resistance – Rutgers

Recommended Tree List – Maryland Department of Natural Resources

IPM Series: Dogwood – University of Maryland Extension

Recommended for Wildlife by

Gardening for the Birds by George Adams

Songbirds – FS613

Twelve Ways to Design a Bird Friendly Garden – Brooklyn Botanical Garden

Landscaping to Attract Birds – Baltimore Bird Club

For the Birds, Butterflies & Hummingbirds:  Creating Inviting Habitats – Virginia Extension

Bringing Nature Home by Tallamy

Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States by Dove & Woolridge

Photo Credits

Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed

University of Connecticut Plant Database, http://hort.uconn.edu/plants, Mark H. Brand, Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Storrs, CT 06269-4067 USA.

Paul Cooper, CC BY-NC – 4.0

Lucy Bradley, CC BY-NC-SA – 2.0

James Gaither, CC BY-NC-ND – 2.0

Additional information


Zone 5, Zone 6, Zone 7, Zone 8


Part Sun


Dry, Loam, Moist

Flower Color


Flower Season


Fruit Season

Fall, Winter


Carroll, Coast, Mountain, Piedmont

Wildlife Value

Butterfly Host, Food for Birds, Nectar, Nest Sites, Summer Cover

Local Availability

Widely Available


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