How to Grow Cornus common name Dogwood

Dogwoods are a lovely group of deciduous shrubs with delicate variegated foliage but the high point of interest is the Autumn and Winter Colour.

Dogwoods are grown for their strikingly coloured stems which are in full colour throughout the winter and look fabulous planted as a group. Most popular is the Cornus alba 'Sibirica'  illustrated above which has strong red stems and good Autumn colour. 

Cornus is a really easy to grow shrub  with a preference for sun for the best colour, but tolerant of most conditions Cornus will thrive in damp soil which make an ideal shrub for a difficult spot for planting streamside or alongside a pond in damp soil. Dogwoods are really tough. The image below left shows a bunch of whips  hich are very small immature shrubs which are often sold quite cheaply as opposed to buying a mature pot grown shrub. If you want to plant a group of shrubs say 10 or more it is worth looking at whips, obviously they take longer to mature, but if you don't mind a couple of years or so  this can be an economical way of mass planting.

Cornus in a temporary home

There was no immediate spot  to plant the Dogwood, so they were temporarily put into a tug and unfortunately, forgotten about. Remembered some months later and as you can see from the image on teh left, no worse for wear. In fact the wips were doing quite well in the tug, growing, supporting new spring leaves and were then happily planted out into a damp boggy area of the garden where they continue to do well.

Cornus need no real attention; plant and they will grow. To keep the stems in really good colour, Dogwoods do best if cut back almost to the ground in March of each year as in the image left. it looks savage at the time but they quickly grow back. It also means you have a clump of lovely red coloured peas stick /small plant supports for the coming growing season.

Cornus alba 'Sibirica' grows up to 2-2.5 m tall, another very popular varieties is Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea'  which produces bright yellow stems.

Cornus cut right back in March

Although Cornus are grown for their strong Winter colour which does look lovely in the winter gloom, it is easy to overlook the fact that the shrub has very attractive variegated foliage which looks good with other shrubs. In the image below left the Cornus, which is on the right of the image,  is planted with Cotinus Coggygria 'Royal Purple' to great effect, and was planted like this in a supermarket car park but looked just great. Cotinus is another easy to grow lovely shrub which grows quite large, advise on how to grow Cotinus and images.

 Below right is Cornus in a garden setting still looking good in mid January.

Cornus is very easy to grow, low maintenace and almost indestructible.