The 45 or so species in this genus, originating mostly in northern temperate areas, are mainly deciduous shrubs and small trees, with a few woody-based perennials, from grassland, thickets, woodland, rocky slopes, and swamps. Dogwoods are grown for their showy bracts, elegant habit, fruits, and colorful autumn leaves. Some are effective specimen trees or shrubs, especially in a woodland garden.
Noteworthy CharacteristicsThe fruits of many species are attractive to birds but may cause stomach upset in humans.
CareSpecies have different soil requirements, but those grown for their colorful winter stems show best in full sun. See species reports for pruning requirements.
PropagationSow seed in a seedbed in autumn, or stratify and sow in spring. Graft cultivars in winter. Take hardwood cuttings of those grown for their colorful winter stems in autumn.
ProblemsSpot anthracnose (dogwood blight), powdery mildew, Discula blight, canker, bacterial leaf spot, and mushroom rot occur, while twig borers, weevils, sawflies, scale insects, aphids, leafhoppers, root knot nematodes, and thrips are common.