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The Plant Guide

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Redtwig dogwood

Cornus alba

KOR-nus AL-bah Audio

These showy shrubs have two distinct phases of garden interest. In winter, they display boldly colorful bark—red, yellow, or orange—on twiggy stems to make a striking scene. In spring, the stems lose their vivid color and produce bright green, gold, or variegated foliage that accents the garden through the fall. Twig and leaf color vary according to the cultivar.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsWinter bark color is shown to best effect against a background of dark evergreens. Plants are easy to prune and keep within bounds.

CareThese hardy, highly adaptable shrubs do well in rich or poor soil, full sun or shade, wet or dry conditions. On established plants, the rule of thumb is to cut one-third of older branches to the ground each spring to encourage new growth, as new branches color most vividly in winter.

PropagationRoots easily from softwood and hardwood cuttings. Also grown from seed.

ProblemsDogwood blight, powdery mildew, canker, bacterial leaf spot, and mushroom root rot. Common: twig borers, weevils, sawfly, scale insects, aphids, leafhoppers, root knot nematodes, and thrips.

  • Genus : Cornus
  • Zones : 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Plant Height : 6 to 10 feet
  • Plant Width : 6 to 10 feet
  • Moisture : Adaptable
  • Bloom Time : Early Summer, Late Spring, Spring, Summer
  • Light : Full Sun to Partial Shade
  • Characteristics : Interesting Bark, Self Seeds, Showy Foliage
  • Maintenance : Low
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Foliage Color : Purple/Burgundy
  • Plant Type : Shrubs
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
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