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All Dogwoods Are Not Created Equal

2 min read | Mar 8, 2022 | General 

Cornus florida vs Cornus kousa

Dogwoods need no introduction with their large distinct white or pink flowers.  In the fall, the color of dogwood foliage is absolutely brilliant, adding another season of interest. 

The Dogwood (Cornus florida) is a true North Carolina native. The early spring bloom of the flowering dogwood tree is the official state flower of North Carolina. A favorite tree for many gardeners because it has something to offer in every season. The natural environment of the dogwood is an understory tree, meaning it does best in the filtered light of larger hardwood or pine trees.

While Cornus florida is an excellent native species selection, there are many other species of dogwoods that perform well and offer a wide array of size and blooms options

If you are a dogwood fanatic, Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) should be added to your list of trees to plant.  This Asian relative of our native dogwood blooms in May rather than April, extending the dogwood season. 

Fruit that resemble strawberries adorn the tree in the fall.

Cornus florida blooms white, pink, and a reddish-pink.  They usually bloom in late winter/early spring before leaves appear.  They will produce a small bright red fruit later in the year.

Cornus kousa can also produce white, pink, and  reddish pink blooms.  However, these dogwoods bloom later in spring after leaves emerge, several weeks after the Cornus florida trees. 

Both species prefer partial shade especially during our hot afternoons, near a woodland edge would be an ideal spot.