Dogwood - Cornus florida

Dogwood - Cornus florida

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Origins, dimensions and portamento

This dogwood is native to North America, where it is an essential part of the undergrowth flora of the piedmont areas: this is why we are perfectly at ease in the Alps and the Apennines, from the plain up to 1200 meters. It is here that an environment similar to the one of origin is reproduced: loose soil, with subacid to acid pH, frequent rains. Moreover it particularly likes the cool summers and it does not fear the cold at all.
In its spontaneous state, depending on its location, it can grow as a shrub or as a medium-sized tree, with a rounded crown, reaching up to 12 meters in height. In cultivation it rarely reaches such a development: on average it goes from 4 to 8 meters. In any case, for you to become impressive, you will have to wait many years.


The Dogwood, Cornus florida is a shrub or small deciduous tree originating from North America. It has a slow growth and looks like a small-medium sized tree, with a fairly short trunk and a roundish, wide and very branched crown; specimens of many years can reach 10 m in height. The leaves are bright green, heart-shaped, become red with the arrival of the cold, before falling. In spring, at the same time as the leaves, it produces showy inflorescences, consisting of a small bunch of white flowers at the base of which stand out large roundish bracts, pink or white, red in the variety Atropurpurea; the inflorescences remain long on the plant, and are followed by small reddish capsules containing the seeds.
The cornus florida is one of the most loved and sought after ornamental trees by gardeners. It is particularly appreciated for its elegant bearing and for its spectacular and elegant flowering. Given its relatively small size, as well as in the open ground, it can be grown in large pots on balconies and terraces. To obtain a long-lived and vigorous specimen some specific cultivation conditions and a good dose of experience are necessary.


The Cornel, Cornus florida prefers sunny positions in places with not too hot summers, otherwise it likes slightly shaded places during the hottest hours of the day. Not afraid of winter cold. It is a rather resistant plant that is well suited to different climatic conditions, suffering more from the great heat of summer days, more than the cold of the winter season. Obviously, the exposure must also take into account the geographical area in which you are located. So for plants grown in the northernmost regions it can be exposed without problems in completely sunny areas, while for the regions further south, it will be necessary to place it in areas of half shade.

The best time for planting is mid-autumn, choosing plants with earthen bread. In addition to the previous recommendations we add that it is necessary that the chosen area is wide: the roots develop horizontally and will occupy an area equal to that of the canopy. Being very superficial we will have to take particular care when we carry out normal maintenance: we adjust the mower high enough to avoid damage. We also do not use tools such as trimmer or brushcutters: cuts on the root system or on the trunk, even superficial, can cause serious damage.No pruning is necessary, unless there are badly directed or not very vigorous branches.Soil care and fertilization

To keep the soil soft it is important to make a large quantity of organic matter (vegetable, compost or flour manure) every year around October. We avoid removing the fallen leaves at the end of autumn: they will quickly decompose and will support this need. It is always useful to distribute a good deal of iron sulphate in the area and, in the case of chlorosis, chelated iron.
The growth is never very fast, but to support it it is good to distribute, at the end of the winter, a specific fertilizer for acidophilic plants.

Dogwood - Cornus florida: Varieties and cultivars of Cornus Florida

Given the great success the breeders have created a large number of varieties: some have particularly colored bracts, for others it is the coloring of the foliage.
'Cherokee chief': it has intense red bracts, up to 6 m
'Daybreak' it has gray-green leaves with red autumn margins, white bracts.
'Clond Nine' large white bracts superimposed, it also blooms when young.
'Rubra' it has pink bracts. It is available in various cultivars: Spring song (bright pink), Sunset (leaves suffused with red, then yellow at the edges).
'Rainbow' medium green leaf with yellow margins and pink tones. In autumn orange, red and purple.