Dogwood - Planting & Spacing

Planting Dogwoods for their Display of Winter Bark dogwood

Ornamental dogwoods are a joy to grow, even for complete beginners. They are usually planted for their brightly coloured young stems, which look great in winter. You can plant them in a loose, natural looking clump or as a decorative hedge.

  • Their only demand is that they get most of the day in full sunshine during spring & summer.
  • They will grow in any soil type, acid or alkaline.
  • Their favourite soil is wet and waterlogged, but they will be fine in dry soil on a hill: you can't go wrong!

If you want to use your dogwoods for their display of winter bark and you are planning on planting them in poorly fertile soil, we do recommend improving it first with plenty of well rotted manure and/or compost. It is not essential that you do this, but it will ensure that you get a thick shower of bright young shoots each year.

Mixing Different Colours of Dogwood:

You can plant a single variety of dogwood and it will look great. If you want an even more exciting and wild looking dogwood feature, we suggest mixing up a few different breeds to get a nice mix of reds, oranges, yellows and darker colours for contrast:

Ornamental Dogwood Varieties Listed by the Colour of their Bark

Red / Scarlet / CrimsonYellowPurple-BlackMulti-coloured
C. alba Spaethii C. stolonifera C. kesselringii C. Midwinter Fire (Red, Orange & Yellow)
C. alba Elegantissima      
C. alba Gouchaultii      
C. alba Sibirica      

Note: The common dogwoods, Cornus sanguinea & Cornus alba are fine for ornamental planting but don't have such vivid colours. They both have reddish stems.

Spacing: If you want a decorative dogwood hedge, plant them 2ft / 60cms apart. For nice thick clump, you can plant them 3ft / 90cms apart.

How to Hard Prune (coppice) Dogwoods: Hard pruning is necessary for a steady supply of bright young stems.

Browse all of our dogwood shrubs & trees here.

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