The dogwood grows best in hardiness zones 5 to 9 and appreciates moist, acidic loam, though it can tolerate clay or sandy soil. It’s a moderate grower and adds 13 to 24 inches per year. It prefers full sun to part shade.
The white dogwood, which is the state tree of both Missouri and Virginia, blooms from April to May though in southern climates the white flowers can appear a couple of weeks earlier. The flowers, by the way, aren’t really flowers at all but white bracts that surround the real flowers, which are green and inconspicuous.
The dogwood's leaves are from 4 to 8 inches long and oval and have an unusual veining that make them look quilted. The tree itself needs little pruning, and seedlings can be grown from softwood cuttings. The tree can even be grown from seed, though the seeds need to be stratified to help them germinate. This means they need to be put in close layers in a moist growing medium.
This little tree not only delights the eye with its white flowers in the spring, but its fall foliage is beautiful scarlet, yellow or orange. The flowers give way to brilliant red, 1/2 inch long berries that are found in tight clusters in October and eagerly eaten by birds and other wildlife. The bark and leaves are browsed by deer.
For year round interest and ease of care, it’s hard to beat the white dogwood.