Plant Spotlight: Kousa Dogwood

— Written By
en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

The dogwoods blooming over the past couple of weeks have really given us a showy display to welcome in spring. Majority of the dogwoods we see flowering are the common flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida). Not only is the flowering dogwood our state flower in North Carolina but it is also native to Eastern United States.

However, if you are looking for something different for your yard there is another kind of dogwood you could consider called the kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa). The kousa dogwood originated in Japan, Korea and China. It grows best in hardiness zones 5 to 8 (Wayne County is in a zone 8). It will grow about the same size as a flowering dogwood of 15 to 30 feet tall and wide but they are slow growing, only growing about 10 feet in 15 years. Young kousa dogwoods grow in a more upright shape but with age the branches will spread more horizontally. All dogwoods are considered small trees and work well as an understory tree or as a focal point in the garden.

When planting, site selection is important. Like other dogwoods, the ideal soil for kousa dogwoods is moist, fertile, loamy and well drained. However, a positive feature of the kousa dogwood is that it is more adapted to soil conditions than flowering dogwoods. The kousa dogwood does not tolerate drought and should be deeply watered during hot, dry spells. Mulching around the base can control weeds and also help conserve soil moisture. It prefers shade in the afternoons and is best not planted in full sun but can be more sun tolerant than the flower dogwood. Space should be given when planting for good root expansion.

The kousa dogwood has similar “flowers” or bracts (modified leaves) to the flower dogwood in that they are a creamy white. However, a difference is that the flowers will appear after the leaves emerge in the spring usually several weeks after the flowering dogwood. In the fall, the kousa dogwood has fall leaf color that varies from purple to red to yellow. The fruit on the kousa dogwood is different than the flowering dogwood in that it is larger and pinkish-red to red (looking similar to a raspberry) and is very showy from September to October. The larger fruit could become a litter problem in high traffic areas so you would want to avoid planting near sidewalks and driveways where one may walk.

Kousa dogwoods appear to be more resistant to typical pest problems that plague the flowering dogwood. They seem to have fewer problems with dogwood anthracnose, powdery mildew, and some dogwood borers.

If you enjoy dogwoods, the kousa dogwood may be one to consider to offer something different in your landscape giving those similar dogwood blooms after the flowering dogwoods begin to fade.

Jessica Strickland is an Agriculture Extension Agent, specializing in horticulture for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wayne County.

 Learn More!

  • Sign up for N.C. Cooperative Extension in Wayne County Gardening email list to learn about upcoming workshops and receive timely gardening tips.
  • “Like” us on Facebook to receive timely garden tips, ask questions, and learn of upcoming gardening events.