Brightly colored winter stems are the most recognizable characteristic of Red Twig Dogwoods (Cornus sericea, Cornus alba & cultivars). Their distinctive red or orange stems add vibrant color to the winter landscape. They produce a striking contrast with evergreen foliage so pairing these plants with a backdrop of evergreens creates a pleasing winter scene.
In addition to the showy winter stems, Red Twig Dogwood also offers white flowers in spring that attract beneficial pollinators, followed by berries that are a food source for native songbirds. Several varieties also have variegated or golden colored foliage.
Red Twig Dogwoods have an upright habit with dense branching at the base. While the straight species are colonizers, most cultivated forms lack the suckering characteristic and are well behaved garden plants.
Red Twig Dogwoods need very little maintenance as they are seldom bothered by insects or disease and are not prone to deer browsing. To obtain the best stem color, selective annual pruning is recommended. The best color is seen on newer stems, so we recommend that each year 25% of the oldest stems be pruned to ground level, thus encouraging the constant production of new colorful stems. This pruning can be done in late winter/early spring or – if stems are to be used for seasonal decorating – can be done in November or early December.
Red Twig Dogwoods are good for seasonal decorating