Plants We Love: Gray Dogwood

Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa)

Plant name: Gray dogwood

Botanical name: Cornus racemosa

Virtues: Blooms in mid-July, long after most dogwoods and other ornamental trees are done flowering.

Flower: Clusters of small white flowers appear in midsummer. White berries on red stems follow the flowers in fall and remain into the winter, or until they are eaten by birds.

Foliage: Narrow and dark green with prominent parallel veins. Leaves turn red and orange in the fall.

Habit: A multi-stemmed shrub that can be trained as a single-trunk tree. Grow from 5 to 15 feet tall and wide.

Season: Summer for the flowers; fall for berries and foliage.

Origin: Eastern Canada south and west to Oklahoma.

Cultivation: Grows wild in a wide range of soils and exposures, so it tolerates the same in the garden. Grows in moist or somewhat dry soil. Takes full sun to part shade. Easy to grow. Remove its root suckers to keep it from spreading and creating a thicket. USDA Zones 3–8.

Read what Dan Hinkley has to say about Cornus racemosa

Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa) flower

Images courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder

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One thought on “Plants We Love: Gray Dogwood

  1. I added a Gray Dogwood to my dry shade situation. It has been about 4 years. Nothing in my dry shade has grown as fast. This year it produced white berries for the first time and that was without a second shrub for pollinating. I have to say that the person who recommended this to me, never mentioned the suckering, just kept raving about how much they liked their shrub. It REALLY suckers. Removing the suckers is a LOT of work and was so futile that I gave up after the second year and just let it go. I will have to get behind it next spring and rip out some of it but it’s a job to keep up with. Best idea would be to put it in a corner where the suckering will not be a problem. I have a small property and that makes it hard. Mine is much more attractive than the photo you have. I never pruned mine but let it do it’s own thing. It layers with a sort of draping, horizontal effect. It’s healthy, drought tolerant and haven’t had any disease or pest problems. It’s a native and the birds love it. I put two hydrangeas in front of it which has slowed down the suckering
    in the front.

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