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Dwarf dogwood

Early season leaves of dwarf dogwood.

Dwarf dogwood, also known as red-tipped dogwood, is a small compact, mounded shrub reaching 2 to 3 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide. New leaves emerge purplish-red leaf and leaf tips remain red as the rest of leaf matures to green. In late spring, abundant clusters of slightly fragrant flowers attract butterflies. The mature black fruit are a favorite of birds. Use in a group or as a low hedge.

Botanical name:

Cornus pumila

All Common Names:

Dwarf dogwood, dwarf red-tipped dogwood, dwarf redtwig dogwood

Family (English):


Family (Botanic):


Tree or Plant Type:

  • Shrub

Native Locale:

  • Non-native

Landscape Uses:

  • Foundation,
  • Hedge,
  • Massing,
  • Patio/sidewalk

Size Range:

  • Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet)

Light Exposure:

  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
  • Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)

Hardiness Zones:

  • Zone 5 (Chicago),
  • Zone 6,
  • Zone 7,
  • Zone 8

Soil Preference:

  • Alkaline soil,
  • Moist, well-drained soil


  • Occasional drought,
  • Occasional flooding

Season of Interest:

  • Late spring,
  • Early summer,
  • Late summer,
  • Early fall

Flower Color & Fragrance:

  • Fragrant,
  • White

Shape or Form:

  • Mounded,
  • Round

Growth Rate:

  • Slow

More Information:

Tree & Plant Care

Plants prefer full sun to part shade in well-drained soil. Tolerant of soil pH.
Very low maintenance, prune out older stems to promote new growth.

Disease, pests, and problems

Relatively disease tolerant.  Powdery mildew and leaf spots.

Disease, pest, and problem resistance

Tolerant of deer.

Native geographic location and habitat

Unknown origin.

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Butterflies and birds.

Bark color and texture 

New stems are red, older stems gray.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Opposite, 3 inch long ovate leaves with pointed tips that emerge red. Summer color is a shiny dark green.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Abundant clusters of creamy-white flowers at tips of branches in late May and June.

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Shiny, 1/4-inch black fruits


Location of Cornus pumila (Dwarf dogwood) at the Arboretum