Content Detail

Dwarf dogwood, also known as red-tipped dogwood, is a small compact, mounded shrub reaching 2 to 3 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide. New leaves emerge purplish-red and leaf tips remain red as the rest of leaf matures to green. In late spring, abundant clusters of slightly fragrant flowers attract butterflies. The mature black fruit are a favorite of birds. Use in a group or as a low hedge.

  • Family (English) dogwood
  • Family (botanic) Cornaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Occasional drought, Occasional flooding
  • Season of interest late spring, early summer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Mounded, Round
  • Growth rate Slow

Native geographic location and habitat:

Unknown origin.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

Dwarf dogwoods attract butterflies and birds.

Bark color and texture: 

New stems are red and older stems are gray.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture:

Leaf arrangement is opposite, and the ovate leaves are 3 inch long with pointed tips that emerge red. Summer color is a shiny dark green.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size: 

In late May and June, an abundant cluster of creamy-white flowers at tips of branches will emerge.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Dwarf dogwoods have shiny, 1/4-inch black fruits.


Plant care:

Dwarf dogwoods prefer full sun to part shade and well-drained soil. Tolerant of various soil pH. It requires very little maintenance, aside from pruning out older stems to promote new growth.

Pests, diseases and tolerances: 

Dwarf dogwoods are relatively disease tolerant, but can develop powdery mildew and leaf spots. This shrub is tolerant of deer.


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