Content Detail

Silky dogwood is a large to medium-sized native shrub with creamy white spring flowers , dark green foliage, and reddish stems and burgundy fall color. A great four-season plant for naturalizing, en masse, and in the shrub border, especially in moist sites.

  • Family (English) Dogwood
  • Family (botanic) Cornaceae
  • Tree or plant type Shrub
  • Foliage Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
  • Native locale Illinois, North America
  • Size range Medium shrub (5-8 feet), Large shrub (more than 8 feet)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Alkaline soil, Moist, Sandy soil, well-drained soil, Wet soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Occasional drought, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest midwinter, late winter, mid spring, midsummer, mid fall, late fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Arching, Mounded, Multi-stemmed, Open, Round, Thicket-forming
  • Growth rate Moderate

Native geographic location and habitat:

Silky dogwood is found along ponds, lakes, streams, and swamps. This plant is native from the Midwest to the eastern United States.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife:

The fruit is loved by many small birds and waterfowl.

Bark color and texture:

Twigs are reddish-brown to gray brown with vertical, shallow fissures and lenticels on older stems.

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

Opposite, elliptical to ovate leaves are 3 1/2 inches long and 2 inches wide. Margins are wavy. The upper leaves are dark green, the lower surface pale with grayish to brown hairs on the veins. Fall color is a variable reddish-purple to burgundy.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size:

Creamy-white, flat-topped flowers are upright and terminal. Silky dogwood blooms in May or June.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions:

Attractive fruit is porcelain blue with white blotches, ripening in late summer. Each fruit is 1/4 inch in diameter and loved by birds.

Plant care:

A Midwest native dogwood found in damp to wet sites, this plant is best in moist soil and full sun areas. Tolerant of differing soil pH. Often considered short-lived.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Scale insects, leaf spots, and stem cankers can be problems on silky dogwood. The shrub is tolerant of differing soil pH levels and black walnut toxicity.


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