The Blog

Native, Kousa, and Hybrid Dogwoods

There are a lot of different dogwoods on the market. You might be wondering what the real difference is. Just to look at them individually you may not see a lot of difference between any of them. But believe me, there are a lot of differences. 

Native Dogwoods

Native dogwoods will be labeled as Cornus Florida. These are the ones you will find growing out in the wild, at the edges of tree lines, and in natural gardens. Native dogwoods may have fewer blooms than some of the others or broader spacing between the blooms which makes it look like there are fewer blooms.

Kousa Dogwoods

Kousa dogwoods are native to Asia and tend to be tougher than our native variety. Kousas are more resistant to disease and pests that are detrimental to our native dogwoods. They are native to Asia and are sometimes called Japanese Dogwood, or Chinese Dogwood. The first Kousa dogwood was observed in the United States in the mid-1800s. So even though they are not native they have been around in this country for quite a while. They indeed are not native. 

Hybrid Dogwoods

A hybrid dogwood is a genetically crossed tree with the best features of both the Kousa and the native (Cornus Florida). These can offer you the best of both worlds. They have the ability to adapt to the local climates and the ability to fend off disease and pests. The hybrids offer many more blooms and a longer bloom time as well. 

Natives will offer the local wildlife some berries in the winter. But, the Kousa, though it still produces berries, is not the meal of choice and offers very few benefits for that reason. However, they are edible for humans and some make jelly out of the berries.

With all of this information, there really is no wrong choice. Unless, of course, you are just a stickler for planting native. If that is the case I say BRAVO! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼  Also, just a friendly reminder that fall is altogether the very best time to plant trees and shrubs. Enjoy your new dogwood tree! and as always

Happy Planting!

D. Ellen Kincer