Little Poncho Dwarf Dogwood

A spectacular specimen tree for smaller home landscapes, with showy white flowers held on top of the branches in spring; has a compact, dwarf habit; requires rich, well-drained acidic soil and adequate precipitation

Ornamental Features

Little Poncho Chinese Dogwood features showy clusters of creamy white flowers with olive green eyes held atop the branches in early summer. It features an abundance of magnificent red berries with orange overtones from early to mid fall. It has dark green deciduous foliage. The glossy pointy leaves turn outstanding shades of red and scarlet in the fall. The peeling gray bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape.

This is one of the smallest flowering dogwoods, slowly growing to just 8 feet tall and 6 feet wide. With careful pruning you could restrain the growth further. I consider this to have four-season interest, with white flowers in spring, red fruit in summer, burgundy fall color and an interesting shape for winter.

If you’re into dogwoods, another to consider is Cornus kousa ‘Akatsuki’, a stunning variegated variety with pink flowers that grows a bit taller and narrower than ‘Little Poncho’.

Landscape Attributes

Little Poncho Chinese Dogwood is a multi-stemmed deciduous tree with a stunning habit of growth which features almost oriental horizontally-tiered branches. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This is a relatively low maintenance tree, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season’s flowers. It is a good choice for attracting birds to your yard. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Little Poncho Chinese Dogwood is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Accent
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Little Poncho Chinese Dogwood will grow to be about 10 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 8 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This tree does best in full sun to partial shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the foliage in alkaline soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution, and will benefit from being planted in a relatively sheltered location. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America.

Little Poncho Chinese Dogwood is a fine choice for the yard, but it is also good for planting in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its height, it is often used as a ‘thriller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. It is even sizeable enough that it can be grown alone in a suitable container. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag – this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.