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Cornus sericea (Red Osier Dogwood)

Red Osier Dogwood, Red-Osier Dogwood, RedOsier Dogwood, Red Willow, Redstem Dogwood, Redtwig Dogwood, Red-Rood, American Dogwood, Creek Dogwood, Western Dogwood, Cornus stolonifera, Swida sericea

Cornus Sericea, Red Osier Dogwood, Red-Osier Dogwood, RedOsier Dogwood, Red Willow, Redstem Dogwood, Redtwig Dogwood, Red-Rood, American Dogwood, Creek Dogwood, Western Dogwood, Cornus stolonifera, Swida sericea, Deciduous Shrubs, Foliage, Fall color, Winter color, shrub with berries
Cornus Sericea, Red Osier Dogwood, Red-Osier Dogwood, RedOsier Dogwood, Red Willow, Redstem Dogwood, Redtwig Dogwood, Red-Rood, American Dogwood, Creek Dogwood, Western Dogwood, Cornus stolonifera, Swida sericea, Deciduous Shrubs, Foliage, Fall color, Winter color, shrub with berries

Adding a pop of vibrant color in the snowy, dull months of winter, Cornus sericea (Red Osier Dogwood) is a medium-sized ornamental shrub with an incredible appeal. Rapidly growing and adaptable to most soils, including wet soils, it features spectacular decorative features: stunning fall color, attractive berries, vibrant red or golden stems, and sometimes lovely variegated summer foliage. A spectacular addition in the garden for most seasons, Red Osier Dogwood certainly adds a WOW! to a winter landscape.

  • Cornus sericea is a multi-stemmed, suckering, deciduous shrub with an upright, spreading habit. It grows at a fast rate, typically up to 6-9 ft. high (180-270 cm) and 8-12 ft. across (240-360 cm), but there are many dwarfs or larger varieties available.
  • The stems are often numerous and beautifully radiate from the base of the shrub. They develop intense and showy coloration in fall and winter, usually bright red.
  • Flat-topped clusters of tiny, fragrant, creamy-white flowers, 2 in. wide (5 cm), appear in late spring and sometimes sporadically flower in summer. While not especially showy, they attract happy butterflies and pollinators and give way to clusters of white berries, sometimes tinged with blue, that birds greedily devour.
  • The summer foliage consists of ovate, medium to dark green leaves which turn dull or rich red-purple in fall.
  • Promptly remove root suckers if the colonial spread is undesired
  • Performs best in full sun to part shade, in organically rich, medium to wet soils. It is not fussy about soils, provided they are kept evenly moist and well-drained.
  • Easy to grow, easy to care for, and deer-resistant.
  • Cornus sericea looks spectacular when massed to emphasize and accentuate the cold season stem color. Great choice for shrub borders, along ponds and streams, or planted in naturalistic plantings where it can freely spread and form thickets.
  • Dogwoods are susceptible to a range of pests and diseases.
  • This plant is more vulnerable to diseases in hot summer climates (south of Zone 7)
  • While pruning is not required, it should be noted that the best winter stem color appears on new growth. For the best display, cut the stems flush to the ground every 2-3 years in early spring, just as the leaf buds start to swell. This radical pruning, however, means that you will have a bare spot in the garden for a few weeks and miss the creamy-white flowers or attractive berries since they only form on second-year growth. Alternatively, if severe pruning seems too onerous, one-quarter or one-third of the oldest stems could be pruned in early spring each year to stimulate the growth of new stems.
  • Propagated primarily by rooted stem cuttings. Promptly remove root suckers if the colonial spread is undesired.
  • Cornus sericea is a species of dogwood native to much of North America (excluding the lower Midwest and deep South). It is widely grown as an ornamental plant, whose available cultivars have been selected for their winter glowing colors.

Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Climate Zones 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A2, A3
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Cornaceae
Genus Cornus
Common names Redosier Dogwood, Dogwood
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 6' - 9'
(180cm - 270cm)
Spread 8' - 12'
(240cm - 3.7m)
Spacing 96" - 144"
(240cm - 3.7m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average, High
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Maryland, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, California, Southeast, Alaska, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Northeast, North Dakota, Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, South Dakota, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado
Tolerance Deer, Clay Soil, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes, Beds And Borders, Hedges And Screens, Ponds And Streams, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles Traditional Garden, Prairie and Meadow, City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage
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Alternative Plants to Consider

Cornus alternifolia Golden Shadows® (Pagoda Dogwood)
Cornus sanguinea ‘Winter Flame’ (Bloodtwig Dogwood)
Cornus sanguinea Arctic Sun® (Bloodtwig Dogwood)
Cornus sericea Arctic Fire® Red (Redtwig Dogwood)
Cornus florida ‘Appalachian Spring’ (Flowering Dogwood)
Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Sunset’ (Flowering Dogwood)

Recommended Companion Plants

Erica x darleyensis ‘Furzey’ (Winter Heath)
Astilbe ‘Rheinland’ (Japonica Hybrid)
Sedum ‘Matrona’ (Stonecrop)
Aster x frikartii ‘Monch’ (Frikart’s Aster)
Cornus sanguinea ‘Midwinter Fire’ (Bloodtwig Dogwood)
Astilbe ‘Fanal’ (Arendsii Hybrid)

Find In One of Our Guides or Gardens

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Roots of Life: Exploring the Diverse World of Trees
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Small Trees, Big Impact: Maximize Your Garden’s Potential
Spectacular Trees for Vibrant Fall Colors: A Gardener’s Guide
Pure White Flowers for a Touch of Elegance in Your Garden
24 Types of Dogwood Trees and Shrubs
Dogwood Tree Facts You May Not Know
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40 Beautiful Native Shrubs for Shade
Flowering Dogwood – Problems and Alternatives
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Cornus (Dogwood) – Pests and Diseases to Watch Out For
Cornus (Dogwood)
Dogwood Trees: Add Vibrant Beauty to Your Landscape
Trees with Four Seasons of Interest for Your Garden
Create a Garden with Great Winter Interest
Attractive Shrubs and Trees with White Fruits and Berries
Shrubs and Trees with Colorful and Distinctive Twigs in Winter
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 3 - 8
Heat Zones 1 - 8
Climate Zones 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, A2, A3
Plant Type Shrubs
Plant Family Cornaceae
Genus Cornus
Common names Redosier Dogwood, Dogwood
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun, Shade
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Summer (Early, Mid, Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 6' - 9'
(180cm - 270cm)
Spread 8' - 12'
(240cm - 3.7m)
Spacing 96" - 144"
(240cm - 3.7m)
Maintenance Low
Water Needs Average, High
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Moist but Well-Drained, Moisture Retentive
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Native Plants United States, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Maryland, Southwest, Pacific Northwest, California, Southeast, Alaska, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, Northeast, North Dakota, Ohio, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, South Dakota, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado
Tolerance Deer, Clay Soil, Wet Soil
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks And Slopes, Beds And Borders, Hedges And Screens, Ponds And Streams, Rain Gardens
Garden Styles Traditional Garden, Prairie and Meadow, City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage
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Do I Need?
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