Dogwood trees are well-known for the spectacular flowers that they produce. Unfortunately, these trees can be difficult to get to bloom. If you have a flowering dogwood, you may not be getting the blooms that you were expecting. So, when should you be on the lookout for stunning dogwood blooms? We've done the research and can tell you what time of year this tree flowers and some fixes for bloom problems.
Flowering dogwood trees, Cornus florida, bloom once a year during the spring and summer months. The exact time and duration of blooms will vary based on the cultivar of the plant.
There are many reasons your dogwood isn't blooming. Some common causes of not flowering include:
- Too much nitrogen in the soil
- Not watering properly
- Not enough sunlight
- Incorrectly pruning your tree
- Extreme weather fluctuations
- The tree is too young
Please keep reading to learn how old this tree needs to bloom, how long they have flowers for, and more must-know information!
All About The Flowering Dogwood
Flowering dogwood trees are small, deciduous trees that are native to the eastern United States. Exact heights will vary by cultivar, but many of these plants only grow to around 30 feet in height. Once it reaches full maturity, it will most likely be wider than it is tall.
These trees are well-known for their beautiful bracts or petals. There are approximately 100 cultivars of this type of plant. The flower colors range from white, pink, red, and even yellow. In the summer and fall months, these trees will also produce little fruits highly sought after by birds and bugs.
Dogwood Blooming Times
The flowering dogwood tree will bloom once a year in the spring and early summer months. There is another type of dogwood that may flower twice a year. This type of plant is called the Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii).
The Amerika Touch-O-Pink cultivar was introduced in 1996. This particular tree will grow between 15 and 20 feet tall. It produces pink and white flowers in the late spring and early summer months.
The Appalachian Spring cultivar is one of the hardiest dogwood plants. This cultivar is considered to be completely resistant to anthracnose, a common problem for these plants. These plants grow between 15 and 20 feet tall. They will produce white flowers in April and May.
The Autumn Gold cultivar is unique. It has a yellow fall color and yellow twigs during the winter months. This tree will reach between 15 and 25 feet tall. In the mid-t0-late spring months, you can expect to see white flowers.
The Gulf Coast Pink cultivar is excellent for warmer climates and is considered the best pink dogwood in Florida. You can expect this plant to produce pink flowers in the mid-spring months.
The Purple Glory cultivar is small. This plant typically only grows to reach between 15 and 20 feet high. The Purple Glory produces maroon red petals around April and May.
Dogwood Blooming Problems
A mature dogwood tree that isn't blooming can be frustrating. Unfortunately, there can be several reasons that your tree isn't blooming.
Before you plant your dogwood, you should test the soil. This will let you know if and how you need to fix it. Dogwood prefers soil that is high in organic matter. It should also be acidic. If your dogwood isn't blooming, you may need to make your soil more acidic. You can do this by adding specific types of nitrogen fertilizer.
Dogwood trees need very little pruning. It's recommended that you don't prune a new dogwood until at least its second year. You should also be fine with routine pruning once every 5 to 10 years.
Be sure to prune your dogwood tree when it's dormant. If you cut into it while it's actively growing, you make them more likely to be eaten by bugs. Dogwood trees also bleed sap. Cuts made during this time will cause the tree to bleed.
When pruning, first remove damaged or dead branches. Then, look for any undersized sticks that you feel detract from the plant's shape. Also, make sure you're looking for suckers near the bottom of the tree.
Incorrect Amounts of Sunlight
Dogwoods are found in the understory and the edges of forests. This can make giving them the correct amount of sunlight difficult. It would be best if you aimed to give your dogwood full sun to partial shade. They will often benefit from being protected from the afternoon sun.
If your dogwood goes through a sudden drop in temperature, it could damage its blooms. These cold snaps will frequently kill off blossoms while sparing the rest of the tree. You can protect your dogwood from cold temperatures by covering it with a sheet or a tarp.
Dogwood trees do best in well-drained but moist soil. While they can occasionally handle dry soil, you won't get any blooms if it's too dry. It would help if you tried to give your dogwood at least an inch of water a week. That amount will need to be adjusted depending on the overall climate of your location.
How Old Does A Dogwood Tree Have To Be To Bloom?
Like most plants, dogwoods need some time to get established before they'll start producing flowers. Your tree will be older than four years before it's considered mature enough to produce flowers. Many dogwood trees begin producing fruit between the ages of five and seven.
Do Dogwood Trees Flower Every Year?
Once established, you can expect dogwood plants to flower every year. Monitoring your tree through the year can help you spot problems early on. While simple troubleshooting can typically fix blooming issues, it can sometimes be due to disease. Consistently checking your dogwood will help you notice any disease that can stop blooms.
How Long Do Dogwoods Stay In Bloom?
Once a dogwood blooms, it will have beautiful bracts that are roughly 2 inches long. These petals will be different colors and have different lifespans depending on the cultivar of dogwood. It's common to see flowers on dogwoods between 10 and 14 days. However, certain cultivars claim to have blooms for three to four weeks.
Are Flowering Dogwood Trees Messy?
All flowering dogwoods are considered monoecious. This means they have both male and female flowers. So, all flowering dogwoods will produce fruit. The fruits for the flowering dogwood, Cornus florida, are important food sources for many birds and bugs.
Because of the fruit's popularity, it shouldn't be very messy. Although, a mess can happen if fruit falls and isn't eaten by wildlife. You should also expect a collection of leaves as they shed in the winter months.
Do Dogwood Trees Smell Bad?
Dogwood trees do have a strong smell. Some people equate the smell to a rotten fish smell. However, others might not mind the smell. So, it will come down to a matter of preference. Either way, you should expect an odor.
How Do I Get My Dogwood Tree To Bloom?
It's important to be patient when you're trying to get a dogwood to produce flowers. You need to be wary of over-correcting problems. While pruning can help some plants, over-pruning, especially in the dogwoods case, can prevent it from producing flowers. Nitrogen can help a plant to flower, but add too much and you may not see any blooms.
If you think that you're doing everything correctly, it may be best to wait and see. It's possible that your tree still needs to mature, or the weather was too stressful that year.
What Is The Best Fertilizer For Dogwood Trees?
Dogwood trees can be very particular about their soil. It will be important to fertilize your ground for your dogwood. If your soil is already acidic, then either a 12-4-8 or 16-4-8 fertilizer will do.
The three numbers on a fertilizer refer to nitrogen, phosphate, and potash or potassium contained in the compost. Dogwood trees require more nitrogen to grow their leaves and vegetation. So, it's important to choose a fertilizer with more nitrogen. So, you need either 12% or 16% nitrogen, 4% phosphate, and 8% potash/potassium for dogwood fertilizer.
If you need to make your soil more acidic, consider adding peat moss as well as fertilizer. You can also look for a fertilizer that contains the ammonium form of nitrogen.
For more in-depth information on soil requirements, check out: Best Soil and Best Mulch for Dogwood Trees.
Dogwood trees are stunning additions to your garden. These plants can provide interesting colors no matter what season it is. However, making them bloom can be difficult. Always check your soil pH levels before planting and ensure your tree will get full to partial sun for best results.
Before you leave, you may want to read more about dogwood trees in the following articles: