The Dogwood tree is the quintessential spring bloomer. Prolific flowering and appealing, architectural form create a spectacular display that pops against non-blooming greenery.
Pink dogwood trees, specifically, catch the light and cast a warm glow across your garden.
If you’ve ever grown dogwood, you’re probably familiar with the issues they can experience, such as powdery mildew and other fungal diseases.
So, what’s the secret to successfully growing Dogwood?
Keep reading to discover twelve different cultivars with higher resistance to these issues and gorgeous ornamental features.
Why Choose Pink Dogwood Trees
One benefit of choosing a flowering Dogwood over other trees is the broad range of options you have within the same botanical family.
Bloom color, foliage pattern, and size all vary with the options below. Allowing you to find the best fit for your garden.
Cornus Florida and Cornus Kousa species are small, deciduous trees that mature to between 15’-30’ tall. But, the pink ones attract pollinators, which can increase the health and fertility of your garden.
Other treasured features include a lush, spring, and summer canopy. Followed by red or plum leaves and small, ornamental berries, in autumn.
(Cornus kousa ‘Rutpink’)
The Scarlet Fire is celebrated for lighting up partially shaded areas with an abundance of Fuschia-pink blooms that span 4-5” across. These cover the tree’s crown for two weeks, starting in mid-May.
This low-maintenance Kousa cultivar is pest and disease-resistant, as well as drought and heat tolerant, in zones 5-9.
Large, bright blooms result from well-draining, acidic soil and 4 hours of daily sunlight. Color deepens as trees mature to 25’ tall by 20’ wide, at a rate of 1-2’ per year.
New foliage emerges with hints of purple before developing a rich green tone. Autumn brings red leaf variegation and 1-inch, dark pink berries.
One of the most recognizable in this category is the original Pink Dogwood. This tree simply erupts with thousands of pale pink and white blooms, dotted by bright yellow stamens, from mid-April to May.
This archetypal Dogwood thrives in moist and well-draining, acidic soil and 6 hours of sunlight with some afternoon shade, in zones 5-9.
The contrast in bloom color becomes more pronounced as the tree matures to 25’ tall and wide, at a rate of 13-24” per year.
Dark green, teardrop leaves bud along outstretched branches that ebb to a rich burgundy around glossy, red berries, in autumn. Crackled, grey-brown bark adds complementary texture and visual, winter interest.
(Cornus florida var. rubra)
Dynamic shades of red on this second, early bloomer give it the appearance of an impressionist painting, right in your own backyard. Ribbons of red, salmon pink, pale pink, and white flow through the canopy of this tree, in April and May.
While tolerant of full sun, color variance will increase when planted in partial shade and a range of soil types that are well-draining, in zones 5-9.
Multiple trunks offer architectural interest as they support a large, horizontal crown. All reaching 20-25’ tall and wide, at maturity. Bright green leaves fade to deep burgundy and brown, surrounding bright red fruits that attract local wildlife.
(Cornus florida ‘Comco No. 1’)
This impressive Dogwood hybrid has the best of each parent. A beautifully crowned growing habit, vibrant, multi-colored blooms, and both pest and disease resistance. It also thrives in cold zone 5, while others perform better in zones 7,8, and 9.
Large blooms have white centers that build to a luxurious red toward rounded edges and typically bloom earlier than other Dogwoods when planted in partial sun and moist, well-draining soil.
Vibrant, green leaves also sprout earlier for prolonged seasonal enjoyment as this tree matures to 20’ tall by 25’ wide. In autumn, burgundy foliage and bright red berries light up shorter days.
(Cornus ‘Rutgan’ Stellar Pink)
This gorgeous bloomer was developed at Rutgers University and is prized for its vigorous growth habit, large pastel-bracted flowers, and a marked resistance to common Dogwood ailments like anthracnose and dogwood borer.
This is a fantastic option for smaller gardens, providing shade and a bounty of color as it matured to just 15’ tall and wide, in zones 5-9.
A higher number of spring buds will swell when this is planted in a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight, per day, and consistently moist, nutrient-rich soil.
This hybrid is sterile and will not produce fruit. Yet, leaves turn brilliant shades of red and purple in the autumn landscape.
(Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Chief’)
The Cherokee Chief was discovered as a mutation of the standard Cornus florida and is similar to the Cherokee Brave, but with distinct differences. Flower color fades from deep red centers to white tips and only grows to 15’ tall and wide, in zones 5-9.
Susceptible to over-exposure to sunlight, Chief Dogwoods prefer partial sun and well-draining soil. This susceptibility means, like the Cherokee Brave, this is impressively cold-hardy and thrives in zone 5.
A cloud of red blooms bursts into spring, revealing lush, green leaves as temperatures warm. In autumn, foliage fades to a striking burgundy hue. Followed by ornamental berries that remain through winter.
Lending its parentage to a number of hybrids, the Kousa Dogwood is well-known for its cold resilience and partiality to shaded areas.
In spring, its broad, horizontal branches are layered with white, star-shaped blooms. Come summer, long, pointed leaves take center stage, as flowers fade, providing shade and comfort on hot days.
As autumn approaches, foliage color recesses to a dazzling salmon pink around clusters of red berries.
All on a sturdy structure that matures to 25’ tall and wide, at a rate of 12-24” per year, in zones 5-8. Preferring acidic, well-draining soil and just 4 hours of daily sunlight. With morning sun with afternoon shade being ideal.
(Cornus elliptica variegata ‘Summer Splash’)
This is one of the most exciting cultivars to hit the gardening world. Typically, the star of the Dogwood show is its flowers. On the Summer Splash, crisp white blooms bud in early spring.
But, the most spectacular feature is the foliage. Six different colors, ranging from greens to peaches and pinks, can be seen on each leaf, in optimal conditions.
Variegation patterns are outstanding when this is planted in partial sun (4-6 hours of sunlight, per day) and well-draining soil.
With proper pruning, this can be grown as a shrub or a tree that matures to a petite 8’ tall by 6’ wide, in zones 5-9.
(Cornus x rutgersensis ‘Celestial Shadow’)
Not to be outdone, the Celestial Shadow presents the most fascinating leaf coloration on our list.
Each leaf possesses random levels of chlorophyll and carotenoid cells. Resulting in a plethora of color variations throughout this Dogwood, in every growing season.
Creamy white flowers turn to soft pink as they move toward the development of red, ornamental berries. Green and yellow spring leaves age to green, purple, and pink, in autumn.
Preferring filtered sunlight, this Dogwood is adaptable to a range of nutrient-rich soil types. Its mature size of 25’ by 20’ makes this the perfect choice for medium to large gardens, in zones 5-9.
The mother of all western Dogwoods is the Cornus florida which displays a soft, billowing cloud of crisp, white blooms that span 3-4” across, in spring. A wide, conical crown sits atop a stout trunk. All reach a mature size of 25’ tall and wide, in zones 5-8.
Blooms are naturally abundant when this tree is planted in dappled shade and acidic, well-draining soil.
Flower buds begin to swell at the beginning of spring. As temperatures rise, those recognizable, teardrop leaves emerge and fill the canopy just in time for flowers to become bright red berries.
In autumn, the foliage takes on various shades of pink to brighten the waning landscape.
(Cornus kousa var. chinensis ‘Milky Way’)
If you’d like to plant white-flowering Dogwoods with consecutive bloom times, try planting this Milky Way Kousa with the previous White Dogwood. This variety blooms later in the season, presenting a similar nebula of flowers. Yet with a rounded crown on multiple trunks.
The Milky Way also matures five-feet shorter and narrower (20’ x 20’) than the White Dogwood, giving your garden heightened dimension. This prefers the same filtered sunlight and moist, fertile soil, making them perfectly matched.
Lovely differences lie in leaf texture and coloration, as well as berry size. With this Kousa exhibits leathery foliage, lined in yellow, and large, raspberry-pink fruit.
My final recommendation is the pinkest option on this list, with color lasting right through the coldest winters of zones 2-8.
Often grown as a low privacy hedge, the Red Twig creates a stunning backdrop to Dogwood trees, as it matures to just 6-8’ tall and wide.
Color is more vibrant when planted in well-draining soil and at least 6 hours of sunlight, per day.
In spring, clusters of white florets appear. Giving way too long, arrowlike leaves of dark green. In autumn, white berries, with a hint of lavender, rise from spent flowers. As leaves fall, the brilliant, dark pink form of this shrub is revealed.
Caring For Your Pink Dogwood
Dogwoods are considered low-maintenance. Yet, in order to get a lustrous, colorful return on your investment, a few important care factors should be considered.
To increase the survival of new Dogwoods, plant them in late fall or early spring, while still partially dormant.
Partial or dappled sunlight is ideal. Dogwoods won’t bloom as well in full sun or shade and risk damage from over-exposure.
While adaptable to many soil types, these prolific bloomers thrive in moist, well-draining soil with a 5.5-7.0 pH.
Dogwood roots grow just below the soil surface and can easily dry out. Keeping the soil around them consistently moist (but not soggy) will maintain adequate hydration.
Pink Dogwoods are not heavy feeders but do need consistent access to nitrogen-rich nutrients, starting in the second year after planting. It’s always best to test your soil, to determine what nutrients need to be supplemented.
Pruning is the easiest aspect of Dogwood care. However, it’s important to remove spent/damaged branches only in late winter/early spring. This will encourage rapid healing and protect your tree from pests and disease.
Dogwoods are surprisingly easy to propagate. In summer, choose the strongest branch shoots from the current season’s growth and remove all lower leaves. Immediately place cuttings in the water and a sunny window sill. New roots should appear within six weeks!
Powdery mildew, Dogwood anthracnose, and borers are the most common issues with Pink Dogwoods, which are attracted to distressed trees.
Proper care is the best firewall against these ailments. In addition to proper planting times and thinning of cross-branching to improve air circulation.
Some Dogwood cultivars love the cold. But, many do not. These should be well-mulched and their trunks wrapped to protect against freezing temperatures.
Potted Dogwood should be housed indoors, in a cool, darkened place, for protection while dormant.
Pink Dogwood Trees Final Thoughts
If you’re looking for low-maintenance trees with eye-popping color and dazzling, seasonal features, look no further than Pink Dogwoods. With so many gorgeous options to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one!
Luckily, you don’t have to. The twelve cultivars we’ve discussed are all in the same botanical family and thus have the same care requirements. So, it’s easy to mix and match.
From original specimens like the White and Red Dogwoods to exciting new cultivars like Stellar Pink and Summer splash, finding one perfect for the size of your garden and hardiness zone is a snap.