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Cornus sericea

syn. Cornus stolonifera / Red-twig dogwood

An easy to grow shrub with 4-season interest. Fragrant, white flowers bloom in spring and early summer providing pollen and nectar for butterflies, honeybees and other beneficial insects. The blooms are followed by attractive white berries atop bright red stems. These nutritious berries are eaten by over 40 different birds and other small mammals. The leaves turn the color of cabernet before dropping to reveal the gorgeous red stems. They provide so much winter interest, especially when backed by a fresh coating of winter snow. They are great for holiday decorating indoors too. 

Benefits

  • Fragrant, white flowers attract butterflies and native bees
  • Nutritious berries are a great food source for songbirds
  • A favorite nesting place for American goldfinches
  • Waterfowl find food, shelter and nesting in the dense branches
  • Tolerates a wide range of conditions, including wet soils
  • Red branches are great for holiday decorating!

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

Prefers moist, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade but is quite adaptable. In order to keep the deep red stem color, cut the shrub back every few years to 6-8” in early spring. Other than that your dogwood doesn’t require too much care.


Height
7-9 ft

spacer

Spread
7-9 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone 2-7

Native Range

Found along river banks, lake shores, wooded or open, wet areas.

Native Trivia

Other native shrubs with high-fat berries to support migrating birds:

  • Northern bayberry (Morella [Myrica] pensylvanica) 50.3 percent fat
  • Southern arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum) 41.3 percent fat
  • Gray dogwood (Cornus racemosa) 39.9 percent fat
  • Northern spicebush (Lindera benzoin) 33.2 percent fat
  • American burning bush (Euonymus atropurpurea) 31.2 percent fat
  • Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia) 23.6 percent fat

Characteristics & Attributes

Shade
Sun
Beneficial insects
Butterflies
Songbirds
Wet Sun
Plan Sub Group
Medium to Tall Shrubs
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Soil
Heavy clay
Humus-rich
Well-drained
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Wet
Attracts Wildlife
Amphibians
Mammals
Bloom Time
Late Spring / Early Summer
Summer
Habitat Collection
Butterfly
Songbird
Native Habitat
Coastal
Forest
Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
Gold
Uses
Accent
Bog, water garden
Border
Container
Erosion control
Fragrant
Hedge, screen
Mass plant
Meadow
Naturalizes
Ornamental fruit
Specimen
Wind tolerant
Native to
Alaska
Arizona
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kentucky
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
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