The Red Osier Dogwood is a fast-growing, deciduous shrub that will reach a height of 7’-9- tall and 10’ wide.
It can grow up to 24” in height in a single year. The stems of this showy shrub turn from green to vibrant red in the fall, then back to green in the spring. The brightest red color occurs on the younger stems, so you will need to cut the stems back to the base every year or two. The leaves are oval shaped and measure 2”-5” long. They begin to appear in the spring and are dark green on the top and a blueish green on the bottom. In the fall, the leaves turn shades of red and purple. The tiny, dull white flowers grow in clusters and will bloom in mid-May until late June. They usually have a second bloom from July to August. From July to September, a small white berry will appear.
Red Osier Dogwood berries attract a wide range of wildlife, including 18 different species of birds, elk, deer, moose, rabbits, and chipmunks.
Some of the birds are turkeys and ruffed grouse. The Red Osier Dogwood needs to be planted in full to partial sun, with at least 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight a day. They need damp soil, sand or clay with a pH of 6.1-8.5. They are very salt sensitive plants and cannot tolerate excessively dry soil. Landscapers use these shrubs as a way to protect the banks of rivers and ponds from erosion, and also as a hedge. If you plan to use them as a hedge, you will need to plant them 3’-4’ apart to give them room to spread out. Native Americans used this plant for many different things. They used the fruit to treat colds. The inner bark was smoked, and the outer bark was used as a dye.
Red Osier Dogwood is a rounded, stunning shrub with year-round interest and unique winter colors.
In winter, the blood red to the purple of the branches are displayed brilliantly in the stark landscape. The bright, many-stemmed form of the shrub is sure to draw the eye and bring a smile to the gloomy days of winter. Throughout the growing season lovely green leaves, threaded with white veins, make an excellent background plant to complement showier flowering plants. Tiny white to greenish flowers appear in thick, flat-topped bunches, in early summer. The white to pale blueberry-like drupes, which appear later, attract a variety of exciting wildlife to one's yard. In fall, the oval, lance-shaped leaves change to dull red, orange, or purplish-red. The shrub spreads by suckering, and it is perfect for mass planting, showy borders, or as a stunning, natural screen.