Red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea) is a medium to tall deciduous shrub. It can grow 6-15 feet tall and 5-10 feet wide depending on site conditions, and spreads to form dense thickets. It is attractive year round with red winter twigs (especially in sunny sites), creamy-white flower clusters, red to purple fall color, and bluish-green to white fruits.
This shrub is excellent for wildlife. Painted lady butterflies visit the flowers for nectar, and spring azure butterflies lay their eggs on the newly developing leaves and buds. Dozens of species of birds and mammals rely on it for food year-round, eating the new shoots in the spring, berries in summer and fall, and twigs through the winter. Birds take cover and nest in the shrubs, and even some amphibians lay more eggs in wetlands with red osier dogwoods than without.
Cuttings readily root, and it is an excellent shrub for improving the health of stream banks and wetlands. In the wild, it commonly grows in wetlands and other habitats with damp soil.
- Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
- Water Requirements: Moist, Seasonally Wet, Perennially Wet
- Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
- Growth Rate: Fast
- Spreads: Yes
- Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Birds or Mammals
- Fire-resistant: Yes
- Edible: No
- Mature Height: 15ft
- Mature Width:6-9ft