Bloom like this waits for spring.

Flowering dogwood, Cornus florida has something in common with Poinsettia. The most colorful component of their bloom is not floral, but is instead foliar. What appears to be petals are colorful leaves known as bracts. Exactly four bracts surround each small cluster of tiny and unimpressive pale green real flowers. These bracts are most popularly white, but can be pink or rarely brick red.

The deciduous trees are bare now, but bloom spectacularly in early spring. Any necessary pruning should happen after bloom, and preferable after new foliage matures somewhat. Floral buds for next year are already prominent on the tips of bare twigs. Dormant pruning would eliminate some of the buds prior to bloom. For now, only minor grooming of unbudded interior growth is practical.

Mature flowering dogwood trees can be twenty feet tall, but typically stay lower. As understory trees, they prefer a bit of shelter from larger trees. Foliage can scorch if too exposed. Some cultivars have variegated foliage. All can develop vibrant orange and red foliar color for autumn, even with minimal chill. Floral debris resembles fallen leaves that fall just as new and real foliage develops.

5 thoughts on “Flowering Dogwood

    1. That was one of the few species there that I did not bring back! I found neither seed, nor small seedlings that I could pull up. There were a few saplings, but they were too deeply rooted to be dug. I sort of did not want to bring any back though, because they are not happy here. I grew garden varieties on the farm, but rarely saw them looking good out in the real world. There are several that are happy here (where I work), but this is an isolated situation that is not chaparral.

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