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Plants We Love: Gray Dogwood

Most gardeners associate dogwoods (the genus Cornus) with the white-bracted spring flowers of C. florida, C. kousa and C. nuttallii. But gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa) is a lovely dogwood that blooms in midsummer. Consider planting one this spring.
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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