Parts of the country, including our nursery in Ottawa, received the first snow of the year as a sign that we are deep into fall and winter is right around the corner. Leaves are changing and falling to the ground, but seasonal interest does not have to stop with the end of fall. There are many different plants out there that thrive in fall and winter that will add some awesome color and texture to your landscape. Dogwoods are one such plant! There are dogwood trees, but today we are just going to focus on dogwood shrubs. The shrubs grow anywhere from three to five feet tall, have small flowers in the spring, and most of them have green leaves throughout the spring and summer. They are usually not planted for their spring or summer interest. They are favorites for fall and winter seasonal interest. If you are unfamiliar with these winter dazzlers, we will let you know why they are one of our favorites, how to use them in landscapes, and which varieties you should consider in this blog.
Top Reasons to Plant Dogwoods
1. Stem colors: The ultimate reason dogwoods are sought after for winter interest are their stems. Some varieties have red or yellow stems in the fall and winter. When winter is at its dullest with grey clouds, excessive snow-cover, and barren plants, the dogwood stems are a bright and vibrant pop of color.
2. Fall leaves: Dogwoods can have some pretty fall colors on their leaves. This gives them great fall interest even before the leaves fall and make way for the stunning stems in winter.
3. Cut arrangements: Yes, dogwoods look really amazing in landscapes, but they can also be cut for arrangements, particularly for the holidays. The stems add nice texture and color to flower arrangements and other festive decor.
A winter arrangement of dogwood stems. Photo courtesy of Proven Winners.
4. Low-maintenance: These shrubs are extremely easy to take care of, so they are favorites for both amateur and professional landscapers.
A Few of Our Favorites
1. Arctic Fire®: The name sums it up on this one. The stems on this look like fire during the arctic season. We love how extra vibrant the stem color is on this variety. They will be sure to set any landscape on fire (metaphorically)!
2. Yellow Twig: People get pretty dang excited about the red twig dogwoods, but you should also obsessed the color on the yellow twigs. They add a different color to winter landscapes that are not always seen, and their twigs pair nicely with red twigs in cut arrangements.
3. Ivory Halo: The Ivory Halo gets its name from its white and green variegated leaves. These are an exception to other dogwoods because people also plant them for their summer leaves rather than just their fall and winter colors. These are extra cool because they also have red stems for winter interest.
Ivory Halo Dogwood with spring buds and variegated leaves.
Dogwood Care Guide
Dogwoods are pretty hardy and do not take much care. They are native to the United States, so they are already fairly acclimated to a lot of our local areas. Here are a few tips you should know though if you decide to plant one.
1. Sun and Shade: Dogwoods like sun, but they are also OK with long periods of shade.
Yellow Twig Dogwood blooming in summer.
2. Trimming: These shrubs grow quite a few branches/stems, so they need trimming each year. The general rule is to cut back a third of the oldest and thickest branches out every year. This will help light get into the plant better, keep the plant more juvenile, and make it more disease resistant. Once you cut out the oldest wood, you should then cut the plant back to the desired height you are looking for. Remember, this is for dogwood shrubs and not dogwood trees.
3. Watering: Dogwoods just need a moderate amount of water like a large majority of shrubs.
Learn More About Plants From Us!
We may be a wholesale grower, but our staff are experts in the field. What’s more, is we love helping people learn more and understand more about plants. We grow healthy plants, and we want our plants (and any plants really) to be successful in the landscapes they are planted in. Feel free to email us at email@example.com or call us at (785) 229-7200 if you ever have plant-related questions.
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