The North Carolina State Flower Is a Decorative Plant That Deserve a Place in Every Garden

shutterstock 1399662248 FloraQueen EN The North Carolina State Flower Is a Decorative Plant That Deserve a Place in Every Garden

The dogwood is a large deciduous shrub that we appreciate for their long blossom period, but also often for their beautiful autumn colors. The flower symbolizes the state of North Carolina. You can enjoy the flower in a small garden for the beauty of its large pink petals and its colorful foliage at the end of the season.

Beauty and elegance are the keywords to describe the flowering dogwoods (cornus in Latin) with their enchanting charm. In winter, you first notice their elegant shape. At the beginning of spring, small green bracts surrounding an ovoid heart decorate the branch. As they open, the flowers grow, turning white or colored, depending on the variety. They then turn into red fruits that look like small strawberries.

A sunny exposure, a humus-rich, fresh, light, and lime-free soil can be the key points essential to ensure a unique and colorful show in your garden all season.

You can learn the following as you read:

* Botanical Description
* Main Features
* Where to Plant the Dogwood Blossom?
* Useful Tips for Planting
* Care and Diseases
* Propagation

Botanical Description

The dogwood family consists of 40 species of cornus, subdivided into several subgenera, including cornus, swida, and hybrids. The dogwoods blossoms are native to temperate regions of the northern hemisphere (Europe, Asia, or North America) where they grow on the edge of forests or in the undergrowth. They have conical, flared ports and offer an elegant silhouette.

Etymologically, the Latin word cornus refers to the horn, referring to the hardness of their wood. Flowering dogwoods form small trees or large deciduous or evergreen shrubs ranging from 3m to 8m in height depending on the species. They adapt well to small gardens.

The dogwood bears many cymes with four large white or pink bracts in the spring. At the end of summer, red berries appear. This species is sensitive to late frosts. Also, it needs acid soil and a high level of ambient humidity. The flower is susceptible to anthracnose.

Main Features

The single leaves are medium green, oval, wavy, and hanging. They are carried by young green twigs that become reddish on the sunny side. The bark shows grey shades of the most beautiful effect, depending on the species. From August onwards, the foliage of the deciduous species starts to get vibrant colors, mainly with spectacular bright purplish-red hues in the autumn.

Some varieties of cornus add to their blossom magnificent bright foliage of green and white (cornus kousa samaritan) or green and yellow. Some of them are small and adapt well to cultivation in containers and large pots on the terrace or balcony.

After flowering, dogwoods offer decorative compound fruits, 2 to 3 cm in diameter, from late summer until December if not eaten before. Ovoid, fleshy, turning red, dogwoods (the name given to the fruit) are much appreciated by birds. Some are edible but not very tasty, and others should not be eaten.

Where to Plant the Dogwood Blossom?

The dogwoods blossom likes acidic to neutral soils, hummus, fresh but well-drained.

Most of cornus do not like hot weather and thrive in semi-shade. Plant them under cover of large trees, but with a crown that is not too dense, otherwise, it harms the flowering. In this way, you should protect the foliage from the burning rays of the afternoon sun, as well as the spring frosts that can damage it.

However, some varieties such as cornus kousa and Florida can grow in the sun in oceanic and temperate climates where they keep a beautiful shape and a generous flowering. It is possible to grow small flowering dogwoods in huge pots (60 cm minimum diameter). Be careful. The substrate must remain fresh, not too wet and not too dry.

Check regularly that the soil in the pot is not dry and place the container in a place sheltered from cold or drying winds.

Useful Tips for Planting

To plant a flowering dogwood, first, you should loosen the soil to 80 cm in diameter and 60 cm deep. Then, add a good dose of leaf compost or well-decomposed manure and peat, pozzolana, or clay balls to improve drainage if necessary. Second, dig a hole two to three times the size of the root ball so that the roots can develop properly. Do not forget to place your dogwood in the middle, making sure the collar is at ground level.

Put the soil back around the root ball, and lightly pack it down with your hands. We advise you to water abundantly and mulch 10 cm thick with dead leaves or mulch to keep the root ball fresh.

Make sure to water regularly for the first year at the rate of one watering can per week during the summer period, preferably in the evening. Flowering dogwoods are not challenging to grow, but they require careful planting.

Care and Diseases

The ground must not be dry in summer and soggy in winter. Dogwoods are sensitive to water stress. We advise you to use mulching to keep them fresh and also to protect the roots from the hardships of winter.

For plants grown in large pots, you can use slow-release fertilizer balls. Flowering dogwoods can be affected by anthracnose (or anthrax disease). Cornus florida is more susceptible to it. This is a fungal disease caused by fungi. Anthracnose is indicated by the appearance of brownish spots bordered by purple, necrosis on leaves and twigs.

These fungi take advantage of wounds to enter, so do not prune. Burn affected leaves to limit contamination.

Powdery mildew can also affect dogwoods. You can observe a white felting on the leaves. Also, the petals become deformed. This disease can appear when the weather is humid. Proper aeration between the plants helps to protect against the fungus.


Multiplying the flowering dogwood is not easy. If you still want to try the experience, you have to proceed by sowing and cutting.

Sowing a cornus requires a lot of time and patience to see the first flowers appear. Indeed, it takes several months to observe germination and from 12 to 20 years to see a bract. You must first remove the harvested seeds from their pulp and sow them fresh.

We do not recommend cutting for flowering dogwoods. The result is random. If you want to try it, take about 15 cm long sections of stalks in August or even September. In a shady place that allows you to keep a temperature of about 18°degree, plant the cuttings in a mixture of garden soil (not always calcareous) and river sand to lighten the plant.

The flowering dogwoods offer an elegant and spectacular spring bloom. Their large, colorful flowers are made of four large pink, white, or yellow bracts. They have decorative leaves that take on beautiful shades of brown, red, or orange in autumn. They are covered with fleshy, highly decorative fruits that offer an original show in autumn and delight the local fauna. They live long and thrive in semi-shade in any fresh, humus-rich soil.

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