How to Grow White Dogwood Tree - Plant Care & Tips

By NorwichGardener Team   /   2024

White dogwood tree is a deciduous shrub or small tree that grows to a height of 15-20 feet. The leaves are opposite, ovate to elliptical in shape, and 2-6 inches long. The flowers are showy, white, and borne in clusters of 3-5. The fruit is a drupe, 1-2 cm diameter, with a single seed.

How to Grow White Dogwood Tree - Plant Care & Tips

Alternative name

  • Cornus alba
  • Ptelea trifoliata
  • Prunus serotina
  • Salix babylonica
  • Sorbus aucuparia

Basic info

  • White dogwood trees are beautiful flowering trees that are perfect for adding some visual interest to your landscape.
  • They are relatively easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of soil types and climates.
  • White dogwoods produce lovely clusters of white flowers in the springtime that are sure to add some beauty to your yard.
  • These trees can reach a height of 20-30 feet and a width of 15-25 feet, so be sure to allow for plenty of space when planting.
  • White dogwoods are relatively low-maintenance trees, but they do require occasional pruning to keep them looking their best.
  • These trees are susceptible to a few pests and diseases, but nothing that is overly damaging or difficult to control.
  • White dogwoods are popular landscape trees and are often used as specimen trees or planted in mass for a stunning display.
  • These trees are deciduous, meaning they will lose their leaves in the fall, so be sure to rake them up to avoid any potential hazards.
  • White dogwoods are beautiful trees that make a great addition to any landscape, but be sure to do your research before planting to ensure they will work well in your particular space.
  • With proper care, white dogwoods can provide years of beauty and enjoyment for you and your family.

Related plant:
Hydrangea Runaway Bride Snow White

Planting Process

  1. For white dogwood tree, first step is to choose the planting site. It is best to choose the site which has full sun or partial shade.
  2. The second step is to prepare the planting hole. The hole should be twice as wide and deep as the tree’s root ball.
  3. The third step is to remove the tree from the container and loosen the roots.
  4. The fourth step is to place the tree in the planting hole and backfill with soil.
  5. The fifth step is to water the tree deeply.
  6. The sixth step is to apply a layer of mulch around the tree.
  7. The seventh step is to fertilize the tree.
  8. The eighth step is to prune the tree as needed.
  9. The ninth step is to monitor the tree for pests and diseases.
  10. The tenth step is to enjoy your beautiful white dogwood tree!

Related plant:
Weeping White Spruce

Soil Requirement

About soil condition, white dogwood tree grows in moist, acidic soils but it is also tolerant of drier, sandy soils. It does not do well in clay soil. It prefers full sun to partial shade but it will also grow in deep shade.

About light

So, like the other trees, the white dogwood tree needs sun to grow. It should be planted in an area that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day. If the tree doesn't get enough sun, it won't produce as many flowers.

The Temperature

The temperature condition that is most favorable for the growth of white dogwood trees is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They will also grow in slightly cooler or warmer conditions, but they may not produce as many flowers.

Humidity Aspect

Ideal humidity condition for this plant is between 40 to 60%. This white dogwood tree does not tolerate drought well, and it will drop its leaves and flowers if the humidity is too low. If the humidity is too high, the leaves may turn yellow and the flowers may drop.


Mentioning fertilizer, this type of plant also requires a lot of attention when it comes to its roots. The roots of a white dogwood tree are very important since they are the foundation of the plant. Therefore, it is necessary to make sure that the roots are always healthy and receiving the nutrients they need. In order to do this, you must use the proper fertilizer for a white dogwood tree.

Plant Pruning

Pruning is vital to the health of your white dogwood tree. By pruning, you remove dead or dying branches, which can help the tree to focus its energy on new growth. You also help to shape the tree, redirecting its growth in a way that is more aesthetically pleasing. Proper pruning techniques are essential to ensuring the health and beauty of your white dogwood tree.

About Propagating

Propagation is generally done by rooting hardwood cuttings taken from the tree in late fall or early winter. The cuttings should be 6-8 inches long and should be taken from young, non-flowering shoots. The cuttings should be placed in a rooting medium such as sand or perlite and placed in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. Rooting usually takes place within 4-8 weeks. Once the cuttings have rooted, they can be transplanted into individual pots or beds.

Growth Rate

Usually, the plant growth rate is considered fast. They can add as much as two feet to their height each year when they are young. Once they are full grown, they will only grow about one foot per year.

Common Problems

Common problems for this kind of plant are chlorosis, root rot and powdery mildew. Chlorosis is a problem that results in the leaves of the tree turning yellow. This is usually caused by a lack of iron in the soil. Root rot is another common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors, including over-watering, poor drainage, and compacted soil. Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that causes the leaves of the tree to become covered in a white powdery substance.

Basics of Growing

  • Make sure to plant your white dogwood tree in an area with full sun to partial shade.
  • The tree does best in rich, moist, well-drained soils.
  • Avoid planting the tree in wet or poorly drained soils.
  • When first planting, mix in some organic matter to help with drainage.
  • Keep the tree watered during the first growing season to help it establish a strong root system.
  • Fertilize the tree yearly with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Prune the tree as needed to maintain its shape and size.
  • Protect the tree from strong winds and severe weather conditions.
  • Deer and other animals may be attracted to the tree, so keep an eye out for any damage.
  • The white dogwood tree can live for many years with proper care.

Alternative Plants

  • Wisteria floribunda 'Alba' (white wisteria)
  • Wisteria sinensis 'Alba' (white wisteria)
  • 'White Lightening' (white waterlily)
  • 'White Silk' (white waterlily)
  • 'White Strawberry' (white waterlily)
  • Bletilla striata 'Alba' (white bletilla)
  • Brosimum rubescens 'Alba' (white breadnut)
  • Buddleja davidii 'Alba' (white buddleia)
  • Calla palustris 'Alba' (white calla lily)
  • Canna indica 'Alba' (white, yellow and green canna)

Cornus florida: White Flowering Dogwood - Clemson University
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Dogwood Tree Varieties - Breeding Programs

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