Q&A: Non-Flowering Dogwood-What to do?

Question:
I purchased a Flowering Dogwood, Cornus florida f. rubra, last year. The info says that it’s supposed to bloom rose-colored flowers in the spring, but it didn’t. It’s about 4 feet tall, 5 feet wide. What have I done wrong?—Joyce Stoffer, by e-mail

Answer:
The spectacular display of a Flowering Dogwood is an anticipated joy to any landscape design. The answer to your question may simply be a little patience.

It is possible—since you just purchased the tree last year—that the tree has not reached a mature status yet. Cornus florida f. rubra achieves this desired status (accompanied by showy blooms) when it is about 6 years old.

As a precaution, first rule out other factors that also could be prohibiting the bloom before you sit back and await the tree’s maturation. Ask yourself these questions: Did your area have an abnormally bad winter? Did the flower buds die-off? Is it getting the right amount of light (morning sun/afternoon shade)? Is it planted in a harmful spot, such as adjacent to a parking lot, blacktop driveway or an air conditioning compressor (these spots attract damaging amounts of heat)? Could your dogwood be suffering from a common fungal disease known as dogwood anthracnose or from an infestation?

If the answer to all of those questions is “no,” than simply let nature take its course and be sure to provide proper cultural care to the tree until those happy blooms appear.

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Strange growth, no blooms or are you wondering the best way to transplant? Just ask, and the Horticulture editorial team will take a stab at answering your ailment or query. E-mail edit@hortmag.com

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