Red Twig Dogwood: Native Plant for All Seasons

The most popular native plants at Herring Run Nursery are ones that offer beauty year-round.

The beauty of a native plant that shines in winter is that they help preserve the sense of seasonality.  Winter in Maryland has its own special character, and one of the native plants that helps define that character is redosier dogwood (Cornus sericea), also known as red twig dogwood.


Snow Covered Red Twig Dogwood IMG_9518

This shrub is a member of the same family of plants as flowering dogwood, but is much more robust in the typical home garden.  Relatively unaffected by the mildew and anthracnose that can torment Cornus florida, redosier dogwood works well as a specimen shrub or as a foundation planting.

Redosier dogwood is also an excellent species for native plant rain gardens.

This native plant also provides great benefit to wildlife:

And the real bonus is in how beautiful redosier dogwood looks in the home garden.  With white flowers in spring, white berries in fall, and stunning red stems in winter this a real stand out shrub.

This shrub grows moderately quickly, reaching a mature height of 12 feet if left unpruned.

However, the red stem color is more pronounced on younger growth which is encouraged by regular pruning so many gardeners routinely trim the tallest stems to the ground.  Cutting back 20-30% of the stems each year produces a healthy, bushier plant with great winter attractiveness.

We are sometimes also able to offer a dwarf variety called ‘Arctic Fire‘, which offers all the other benefits but with a shorter mature height.

Herring Run Nursery will open for retail native plant sales again in April, so for now we’ll leave you with a few beautiful photos to give you an idea of how gorgeous redosier dogwood can be.

Redosier dogwood stems are most red when they are young.  Prune to encourage new growth.

This native shrub blooms with white flowers in Spring.

The white fruit is attractive to birds in early winter.

Snow and ice help show off the winter color of this native plant to best effect.

The red stem color is present year-round, though, including late fall.

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