How to Add Incredible Fall Color with a Chinese Dogwood Tree


Chinese dogwood... it flowers later and longer than a native dogwood, and has big creamy star-shaped flowers. It's full and green all summer, but it saves the greatest show for fall. As the photo shows, what a colorful display, all on one branch!

I'll explain how to add incredible fall color with a Chinese dogwood tree and what kind of care it needs year-round.

Things You'll Need

  • Young Chinese dogwood tree
  • Location with partial shade and well-drained soil
  • Recognize the Species - Not the Same as a Native Dogwood

    Native American dogwood trees (Cornus florida) have white to pink flowers with rounded edges as shown in the photo here, grow 30 to 40 feet tall, and have small, bright red berries.

    The Chinese dogwood tree (Cornus kousa), is native to China, Japan and Korea, is smaller than its American counterpart, has star-shaped (pointed-edge) creamy flowers, with ping-pong size clusters of fruit.
    The Chinese dogwood has better resistance to disease than native American dogwoods and is more hardy in cold temperatures.

  • Observe the Flowers

    Chinese dogwoods bloom about 3-4 weeks later than native dogwoods. The flowers are 4-5" in diameter and prolific, very dense. The tree remains in flower 6 weeks or longer.

  • Look at the Fruit

    The fruit that hangs from Chinese dogwood is red in color, the size of a ping-pong ball, and has the appearance of a hard raspberry. The fruit is considered edible when ripe, is said to taste like melon and to have herbal wellness properties.

  • Enjoy the Fall Foliage

    The fall show is spectacular and long-lasting. A blaze of colors in the pink, red, purple, gold range, as shown by the top photo (a close-up) and this one.

  • Take Care of Its Needs

    Give the Chinese dogwood a partially shady location in rich, moist soil that is well drained. Be sure to water it during especially hot or dry periods. Prune as needed and thin out branches selectively if dense growth occurs in parts of the tree canopy.

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  • Photo Credit Author's Tree and Photos
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