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Bunchberry Dogwood for Northern Shade Gardens

Virtues: Bunchberry dogwood is a low, creeping groundcover related to the more familiar dogwood trees and shrubs. It is an easy groundcover for shade gardens in cold-winter areas.

bunchberry dogwood

Common name: Bunchberry dogwood

Botanical name: Cornus canadenis

Exposure: Part shade to shade

Season: Spring for flowers; spring through fall for foliage; autumn for berries

Flowers/fruit: Tiny yellow-green flowers appear in late spring. Just like on a dogwood tree, these are surrounded by four showy white bracts (which resemble flower petals). Bright red berries ripen in late summer and persist into the fall.

Foliage: Dark green leaves are arranged in whorls of four to six, providing good coverage of the ground. They turn purple in the fall.

Habit: Creeping deciduous groundcover that reaches four to ten inches tall. It spreads by stems that run along the ground.

Origins: Native to woodlands and swamps of roughly the northern half of North America an into northeast Eurasia.

How to grow bunchberry dogwood: Site in part to full shade, in average soil with good drainage. Provide supplemental water in times of drought. USDA Zones 2–6.

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