Redosier Dogwood

Cornus sericea

Description & Overview

Redosier Dogwood is a uniquely beautiful Wisconsin native shrub that provides food and shelter to nearly 100 species of birds. It can be used as a stunning hedge or border plant in just about any soil condition. Thriving in wet areas, with suckering roots, this hardy shrub can provide erosion control while showing off brilliant red young stems in winter and clusters of white berries in fall. A fast grower that reaches considerable size, Redosier Dogwood requires minimal maintenance. May also be known as Redtwig Dogwood.

Core Characteristics

Mature Height: 7-9 feet
Mature Spread: 8-10 feet
Growth Rate: Fast
Growth Form: Round, upright-spreading, suckering shrub
Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Site Requirements: Prefers moist to wet soil, tolerates dry, drought, flooding, alkaline and clay soils
Flower: White, small clusters
Bloom Period: Summer
Foliage: Ovate to lanceolate, medium to dark green
Fall Color: Red to orange, fading to purple
Fruit Notes: Bluish-white drupe, cluster, ornamental, attracts birds

Suggested Uses:

Redosier Dogwood’s bright red stems provide winter interest and can be utilized in mass or alone as a specimen. They combine beautifully with evergreens for winter color contrast. It can be used for screening, as a hedge, in shrub borders, and perfect for naturalized planting where it will spread and form thickets. Redosier Dogwood is an excellent choice for wet sites and will perform well along streams or ponds and help to control soil erosion.

Salable #2 container. All pictures taken late-September, just before fall color! Flowers fading and drupes beginning to form.

Wildlife Value:

The showy blueish white berries attract over 98 species of birds. Just a few on the list include robins, bluebird, catbird, flicker, tanager, thrush, juncos, cardinals, warblers, and wild turkey. The high-fat content of the fruit is an important food source, and the thicket also provides shelter.

Redosier Dogwood is an important native plant in Wisconsin woodlands and wet areas, and by adding it to your landscape, you are contributing to the longevity of our native wildlife.

Maintenance Tips:

Although shade tolerant, Redosier Dogwood performs best and has the brightest winter color in full sun. It spreads through suckering and will form thickets, so pruning helps maintain a smaller plant size as appropriate for the site. Newer stems are bright red to purple while older stems fade and become deeper purple to gray in color; regular spring pruning will rejuvenate color. Can be pruned to the ground every spring or pruned selectively to promote new growth for desired shape/size/color.

Redosier Dogwood is extremely tolerant of wet, swampy sites and performs well in wet areas. It’s adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions and is extremely low maintenance – unless you desire to prune it, which again, isn’t necessary.


Stem canker and leaf spot are the two most common diseases seen on Redosier Dogwood. These typically do not pose a serious threat to the health of this very hardy native shrub. Wet weather promotes these fungal diseases. Leaf spot is mainly cosmetic, and treatment is not typically recommended. Prune only during dry weather to reduce susceptibility to fungal infection in stems.

Leaf Lore:

We collect local eco-type seeds from our own parent plants to propagate native dogwood. While cleaning the seed by hand is a laborious process, the oils in the berries soften the skin and leave hands feeling silky after the job is done!

Companion Plants:

Most Evergreens, Grasses, Joe-Pye Weed, Culvers Root, American Elderberry, Buttonbush, White Turtlehead, Shreve’s Iris, Stiff Coreopsis, Red Milkweed.

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