How to Grow and Care for Pink Dogwood Trees

Jump to Section

Dogwoods are a great addition to any garden, but they can be difficult to grow if you're not familiar with their needs. But with a little bit of knowledge and care, you can have a beautiful pink dogwood tree in your garden in no time.

In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about growing and caring for pink dogwood trees. By following these simple tips, you'll be able to create the perfect environment for your tree and ensure that it thrives for years to come.

What is a Dogwood Tree?

Dogwood trees are flowering, deciduous trees with a variety of species native to North America, Europe, and Asia. If you live in Eastern North America, then you'll think of the white or pink flowering dogwood, a hallmark of spring. And if you live in Western North America, Eurasia, and Eastern Asia, you're more familiar with a non-flowering variety or a variety that produces edible red fruit.

Dogwood Tree
Image credit:

Some varieties of dogwood trees are large shrubs, and others are small trees. Dogwood trees bloom late spring flowers and grow dark green leaves that red fall color. In the fall, some species of dogwood tree grow red berries that attract songbirds.

Types of Dogwood Trees

Flowering Dogwood or Cornus Florida

Cornus Florida is native to North America. Flowering dogwoods form white flower clusters with large bracts. A cultivated variety of this species includes pink dogwood, red dogwood, and white dogwood trees.

Flowering Dogwood
Image credit:

Kousa Dogwood or Cornus Kousa

Kousa dogwoods, sometimes called Japanese dogwood trees, are fast-growing deciduous trees. In late spring to early summer, kousa dogwood trees produce white flower clusters with large petals. Kousa dogwoods grow in different sizes, from 20 feet tall to around 40 feet tall.

Kousa Dogwood
Image credit:

Pacific Dogwood or Cornus Nuttallii

Also known as the mountain dogwood, this ornamental tree produces showy white bracts that can grow as large as three inches long. Pacific dogwoods grow natively in Western North America and thrive in cool, nutrient-rich soil.

Pacific Dogwood
Image credit:

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood or Cornus mas

Cornus mas is native to Europe and Asia. Cornelian Cherry dogwoods receive their common name from red fruits that resemble cherries. In the early spring, cornelian cherry dogwoods produce small yellow flowers.

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood
Image credit:

Planting and Transplanting the Flowering Dogwood

Dogwoods grown in containers can be planted or transplanted with regular watering any time of the year, while bare root or burlap dogwood trees should only be planted in late fall or early spring. You should plant all dogwood trees at a depth of approximately two-thirds the length of their root ball, with the soil gently mounted around the sides.

There should be no soil over the top of the root ball, which should be slightly above the ground level. Plants should be grown between six and ten feet apart, depending on the expected size of the mature tree. Water your dogwood thoroughly and regularly until it's established, then water once a week unless the weather is unusually hot or dry.

Pink Dogwood Tree Care

Plant pink dogwood trees in well drained soil. They'll also do well in slightly acidic soil. They're not heavy feeders, but you can improve the performance by furnishing at least moderately fertile ground for them. Since Cornus Florida var. Rubra is an understory tree in the wild, it's best to grow it in partial shade in the landscape, especially in hot climates.

Some homeowners also grow pink dogwood trees in full sun, especially in the north, and this can work as long as you supply the plant with enough water. Applying a few inches of mulch during the hottest part of summer will help protect the tree's root system and help the soil retain water.

Light: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Pink flowering dogwoods thrive in part shade but can handle full sun with appropriate mulching and watering.

Soil PH

Pink flowering dogwoods grow in a variety of soil types and can even tolerate wet conditions. Pink flowering dogwoods will grow well in most normal garden soils, including heavy clay. They do best in neutral to slightly acidic soils but can also grow on alkaline soils (pH above 7.0), as long as there is enough organic matter in the soil. So test the soil pH to ensure it doesn’t exceed seven.


Water your dogwood tree immediately after planting. Continue watering once or twice a week until your plant is fully established. Water more often if your specific dogwood plant lives in an arid area.

Temperature and Humidity

Pink flowering dogwoods grow well in most areas of the United States, except for hot desert regions. They do best when the temperature is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day with nighttime temperatures falling to 50 to 60 degrees F. Foggy or humid conditions are good for most pink flowering dogwoods. Flowering dogwoods can be expected to grow in hardiness zones five through nine.

Fertilize Your Soil

Depending on the health of your soil, consider using a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. Dogwood trees do best in slightly acidic soil with abundant organic matter. So make sure you know how to make compost if you don't have the fertilizer on hand. However, if you have acidic, well-drained soil, there is no need to apply fertilizer. Apply a 4-to-6-inch layer of mulch around your pink dogwood.

Blooming Period

In late winter, buds begin to form on the trees, blooming for two to three weeks in April and May. The Japanese dogwood blooms later than other flowering varieties, blooming in late spring and early summer after the leaves have already unfurled.

Pruning Pink Dogwood Tree

Pruning ensures that you will have a healthy and fruitful tree.  Pruning your pink dogwood keeps the tree balanced and symmetrical, which is aesthetically pleasing. You should also prune during flowering season in early to mid-spring to remove dead or injured branches, making sure you only take off small parts at a time, so you don't damage your dogwood. The best time to prune pink dogwood is late winter to early spring when the plant is dormant.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Spot anthracnose disease on pink dogwoods by looking for small, round, to oval-shaped spots that appear brown or black. These spots will gradually enlarge and give the leaves a ragged appearance. The tree may drop its leaves early as a result of fungal infection.

Powdery mildew is also another common problem for flowering dogwood trees. Leaves and shoots will turn yellow and become distorted as a result of this disease, which can lead to defoliation. The first step in controlling powdery mildew is removing the diseased foliage and other debris around your pink dogwood tree.

FAQs on Growing and Caring for Pink Dogwood Trees

How long can a pink dogwood live?

Your pink dogwood can live for 25 years or more with good care.

What causes the bark on a pink dogwood to peel?

The bark may be peeling because there is a lack of sunshine reaching the tree's branches and trunk. If your pink dogwood is in a shaded area, try moving it into brighter sunlight. Bark that has been damaged by pests such as borers may also be flaking.

Final Thought on Growing and Caring for Pink Dogwood Trees

As you can see, pink dogwood plant care is not too difficult. Follow the steps outlined here, and you should have no problems getting your pink dogwood to grow healthy and strong.


Kristina Perrin

Kristina Perrin

Kristina is a stay-at-home-mom and an expert chef. When she's not cooking or experimenting with new recipes, you can find her writing about her favorite kitchen appliances on Kitchen Infinity blog.

Related Articles

Download Free Chart Now!

Your email will be used only to confirm your request and to provide free kitchen information. By submitting your info on this form, you are agreeing to be contacted regarding your service request by means of email. This is no obligation form and doesn’t require you to purchase any service.