Virtues: We love pagoda dogwood for its elegant form and small size, which makes it a great specimen tree for a small garden space. This ornamental spring-flowering tree attracts birds with its late-summer fruit and it can host the larvae of the spring azure butterfly.
Common name: Pagoda dogwood
Botanical name: Cornus alternifolia
Flowers: Small white flowers appear in clusters in late spring. Flowers of pagoda dogwood are fragrant. In late summer, small fruits turn from green to red to showy bluish black. These quickly drop off or are eaten by birds, but the fruits’ stems remain on the tree and turn bright red.
Foliage: Dark green, narrow oval leaves. Pagoda dogwood has yellowish or reddish fall foliage that is not particularly striking.
Habit: Pagoda dogwood is a small, often multi-trunked tree growing about 25 feet tall, with an asymmetrical, rounded crown. The branches are very horizontal, giving this ornamental tree an elegant, interesting form even in winter.
Season: Spring for flowers; year-round for overall shape.
Origin: Eastern half of North America
How to grow pagoda dogwood: Cornus alternifolia prefers moist acidic soil and part shade. It will tolerate full sun if it receives regular water and the climate is not very hot. Provide shelter from wind, heavy snow and ice.
Image: Distant Hill
Become a pruning expert with Cass Turnbull’s Guide to Pruning.
Ensure the health of your favorite trees and shrubs by downloading the Trees & Shrubs Digital Value Pack.
Improve the overall look of your yard by downloading the smart Gardening Series: Landscaping Ideas.
Work more confidently with plants and create a plant-driven landscape of your dreams with help from Plant Driven Design.
Make the task of pruning your trees and shrubs easier and quicker with a pair of ratchet pruners.