Cornus, commonly known as dogwood, is a versatile and attractive genus of trees and shrubs that bring year-round beauty to any garden. Dogwoods are native to various regions across North America, Europe, and Asia. With their stunning spring blooms, rich autumn foliage, and elegant forms, dogwoods are an ideal choice for adding visual interest, charm, and elegance to landscapes.
Habit: Dogwoods have a wide range of growth habits, from small shrubs to medium-sized trees.
Species: The most popular species include the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa), and Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii), each with its distinct characteristics and aesthetic appeal.
Flowers: The flowers of dogwood trees are undoubtedly their most striking feature. The true flowers are small and inconspicuous, but they are surrounded by large, showy bracts that can be white, pink, or even red, depending on the species and cultivar. The blossoms create a spectacular display in the spring and are often followed by clusters of attractive red or purple berries in the fall.
Foliage: The foliage of dogwood trees is also a highlight, as the leaves change from lush green in the summer to vibrant shades of red, orange, or purple in autumn, adding to the tree’s visual interest.
Hardiness: Dogwoods are generally hardy, with most species thriving in USDA hardiness zones 5-9, depending on the species. They prefer well-draining, slightly acidic soil and partial shade, particularly in hot summers. However, some dogwood species can also tolerate full sun if provided with enough moisture.
Uses: Dogwoods have numerous uses and benefits in the landscape. They can serve as focal points or specimen trees, especially when in bloom. Their understory nature makes them ideal for planting beneath taller trees, creating a layered look in the garden. The berries produced by some species provide a valuable food source for birds and other wildlife, while the dense branching can offer shelter and nesting sites.