Cardinal Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’)

Cardinal Red Osier Dogwood

Cardinal Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’) is a deciduous shrub with ornamental stems. It’s a unique and versatile plant that would look great in many locations. Your Cardinal Red Dogwood’s outstanding feature is its bright red, winter twig color which will present a stunning contrast to your white winter snows.

The tiny white flowers that appear in flat-topped clusters in late spring are very fragrant and attract many beneficial pollinators, butterflies, and even a few hummingbirds! Dogwoods are also a pollinator host plant and shelter wildlife. The flowers give way to creamy white fruit have blue tinges in late summer that is very attractive to songbirds, and are generally considered to have as much, if not more ornamental interest than the flowers.

Its rounded form will present a pretty picture of your landscape, even without its added features. As if that’s not enough, yet another bonus will be evident in the fall when your Cardinal Red Dogwood’s dark green leaves turn an attractive red-purple. This Redosier Dogwood grows to about 10 feet high with an equal spread while thriving in arctic USDA growing zones 2 and up to zone 7.

Planting and Application:

Allow Redosire to colonize freely and slowly naturalize into a wonderful garden feature! Woodland gardens and Rain Gardens are ideal locations for these shrubs and they enjoy the dappled shade of larger trees and the understory. Use one as an accent planting anywhere you’d like a splash of brilliant color amid the drab hues of your winter yard.

Create a single specimen planting to highlight their unique color and add pops of winter interest to the mixed hedge border and Cottage garden. Or create groupings to maximize the color or in privacy and hedgerows. You’ll feed butterflies, beneficial pollinators, birds, and your soul. The stems look fantastic in outdoor containers for winter décor and floral design.

Try growing your Dogwood naturally without any shearing for an informal and easy-to-care-for display! Plant a few along your property line for an awesome border! Have a steep slope, or embankment down to a creek or stream? Line the sides with a mass planting of Dogwood to hold back erosion!

  • Bright Red Stem Color for Incredible Winter Interest
  • White Flowers in Early Spring are Beloved by Beneficial Pollinators
  • Bold Red Fall Color & White Berries are Relished by Songbirds
  • Stays More Compact Than Other Varieties
  • Controls Erosion on Slopes or Stream Banks
  • Privacy, Specimens, Hedges & Accents

Tips for Care:

Plant Dogwood shrubs in a sunny spot if you want to have the brightest red stems in wintertime. It will also perform in partial shade if the sun is at a premium on your property. You’ll be thrilled with the performance of your shrub is grown in organically rich, well-drained soil. However, this durable shrub is very adaptable to many conditions once it’s established in your soil, and don’t mind boggy conditions that stay moist.

While your plant is young, apply a medium amount of regular water for the best results. Protect your investment during extended drought with supplemental water. Apply a three-inch layer of mulch over the root system to keep it nice and cool, and keep the foliage clean from mud splashing during rain.

Do an annual pruning in fall or late winter and perform renewal pruning every 3-5 years by removing one-third of the thickest oldest stems at ground level. Leave the vigorous, healthy, young stems for outstanding winter color. Use the trimmings in your seasonal containers!

  • Full Sun & Partial Shade Tolerant
  • Adaptable in Well-Drained Soil
  • Tolerates Average to Wet Sites
  • Prune Late Winter/Eary Spring
  • Deer Don’t Prefer the Taste
  • Extremely Cold Hardy

The Cardinal Red Dogwood is a hybrid Dogwood that was developed by the University of Minnesota in 1986. It was an NC-7 Trials top-performing plant and received the 2004 Plant of Merit. Once you have one growing in your yard, you’ll understand why this plant is an award winner.

Cardinal Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’) Details

Common name Cardinal Red Osier Dogwood
Botanical name Cornus sericea 'Cardinal'
Plant type Deciduous
Hardiness zone 2-7
Growth rate Medium
Height 8 - 10 ft.
Width 8 - 10 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun, Partial Shade
Moisture Medium to High
Soil condition Widely Adaptable
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Pruning time Late Winter
Flower color White