Previous Plant Next Plant

Cornus sericea 'Cardinal'

Red-Osier Dogwood

'Cardinal' is a fast-growing, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub with cherry red winter stems. The stems are especially showy against a snowy backdrop. Tiny white flowers appear in flat-topped clusters in late spring. Flowers give way to clusters of creamy white fruit in late summer. Fruit is very attractive to birds and is generally considered to have as much if not more ornamental interest than the flowers. Dark green leaves turn an attractive red-purple in autumn.

Benefits

Bright red stems in winter
Extremely winter hardy
Host plant for spring azure butterfly
Nutritious berries for a wide range of birds
Provides good nesting sites for birds and protective cover for wildlife
Tolerates a wide variety of conditions, including wet soils

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Best grown in organically rich, medium wet to wet soils in full sun to part shade but tolerates a wide range of soils, including swampy or boggy conditions.  The best red stem color occurs on new shoots. Although pruning is not required, you can remove 20-25% of the oldest stems in early spring each year to stimulate new growth or you can prune it heavily every year or two. Beware though, this plant flowers on old wood so when you remove old stems you are also removing the coming season's flowers and fruits.


Height
6-8 Feet

spacer

Spread
9-10 Feet

USDA Hardiness Zone 3-8

Native Range

Swamps, stream banks and thickets; Newfoundland to Alaska in the western mountains to northern Mexico and in the East to Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Native Trivia

Thicket forming plants like this are perfect as property line dividers. They are also useful for hedgerows and for stablizing banks of  pond or stream.


"These bright red stems and nutritious berries provide good nesting sites and food for birds like me."

Characteristics & Attributes

Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Shrubs
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Sun
Soil
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Wet
Attracts Wildlife
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Songbirds
Bloom Time
Summer
Habitat Collection
Butterfly
Songbird
Wet Sun
Native Habitat
Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
Green
Uses
Bog, water garden
Erosion control
Hedge, screen
Mass plant
Naturalizes
Ornamental fruit
Native to
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Dakota
Ohio
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Dakota
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming