Dogwood Shrubs

An all-season beauty that’s robust, long-lived, and easy to grow

Cornus is a genus that includes several popular dogwood shrub and subshrub species, commonly called red twig dogwoods or bloodtwig dogwoods. Similar to dogwood trees, shrubby dogwoods are grown for their ornamental value; however, the multistemmed shrubs grow as wide as they are tall; possess a more robust, cold hardy nature; and flower in clusters of tiny blossoms, which are typically white or pink and not quite as showy as the big, bold blooms of the dogwood trees. But dogwood shrubs display attractive foliage all season, burst with beautiful berries in summer, turn brilliant shades in fall, and reveal colorful stems in winter. Environmentally friendly, the dense shrubbery provides habitat and cover for small animals and birds; the flowers benefit butterflies, bees, and beneficial bugs; and the berries sustain songbirds.

In nature, dogwood shrubs grow along streams, around bodies of water, and in wet meadows or thickets. So, dogwood shrubs thrive in sunny to dappled sun locations with moist, rich soils. But they adapt to a wide range of soils and conditions, and once established, they even tolerate drought and quite a bit of shade. In fact, afternoon shade may benefit dogwood shrubs in hot climates. Under optimal conditions, these sprawling, suckering plants may form extensive colonies over time, which works well, since they are shown to best effect when grouped or massed. The robust bushes will quickly create a luxurious, low, flowering hedge, but they’re also great specimen and container plants. Dogwood shrubs require virtually no maintenance and resist browsing rabbits and deer.