Pagoda Dogwood

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For a delightful native specimen plant, even in a tiny yard, the highly ornamental Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) is a perfect fit. Use it as a large ornamental shrub, or limb up the lowest branches and use it as a small tree! You'll adore the lovely tiered horizontal branches that catch and sculpt winter snowfall!

Summertime leaves age into a rich, dark green for the season. They are deeply ribbed and add fabulous texture and shade at the height of the growing season. But, honestly, this tree shines all year long. Those graceful branches resemble Japanese Pagodas in the landscape. The silhouette of this tree makes a wonderful statement throughout the winter months.

Young bark is smooth, and a warm mahogany-red. Textured older bark is gray-brown and displays light ridges and furrows. Even non-viable twigs are pretty, as they slowly turn a bright yellow before dropping off.

How many butterflies will come visit your yard? You'll be amazed when in spring, the branches are laden with fragrant flowers that are flat-topped. These showy clusters make the perfect landing pad for neighborhood pollinators. The fresh spring foliage is a wonderful contrast to the pale blooms.

As the season continues, the foliage ages into a burnished color similar to mulled burgundy wine. The flowers mature into attractive blue-black fruit in the late summer. These treats are for local songbirds, who relish the nutrient-rich, easy snack. Each fruit sits atop a very attractive stalk and boasts a pleasing coral-red color into the late winter. This is a highly ornamental plant that provides visual interest in every season and stage.

How nice to include native plants in your landscape! Pagoda Dogwood can be found in the cool climates of Eastern North America. These adaptable trees are most often found in moist forests, along streams and creek banks, as well as in open meadows.

Where most Dogwoods have leaves that are opposite of one another on the branch, Pagoda Dogwood is also known as Alternate Leaf Dogwood because of the unique way they distribute their leaves on the branches. Hardy throughout USDA growing zones 4 to 8, these are fantastically easy to grow.

Planting and Application:

Pagoda Dogwood is a low-maintenance plant. It can be an outstanding specimen in a select location in the landscape. They can be used equally well in home gardens and commercial landscapes when sited correctly!

You'll have no drama, just loads of interest with restful green color, beautiful texture and charm everywhere you look. Enjoy your summer afternoons lazing away with a juicy book on a large hammock in your backyard paradise! Try this as a native alternative in an Asian Garden. It looks especially beautiful at the water's edge, where you'll see its pretty reflection.

Pagoda Dogwood is the perfect choice for a naturalized landscape where you can sit and watch the birds that are attracted to the fruit. Underplant with a special, easy-care collection of Hosta perennials. Or, use it as a marvelous accent tree by a patio or walkway. No need to worry about aggressive roots with this plant. Plant near your front entrance to easily add curb appeal!

The trees also look great when massed in plantings of 3 to 5 trees in a woodland garden. Plant them 10 feet apart on center if you want their canopies to touch. Expand that distance to 15 feet on center to create an individual tree that doesn't touch its neighbor. Measure from the center of one to the center of the next. We recommend allowing it to grow naturally as an untrimmed hedge for a picturesque effect.

It's also a marvelous accent tree on the outside edge of a Rain Garden. Capture and filter polluted water runoff from roofs and streets, before it flows down storm drains and out to local estuaries using wonderful plants like Pagoda.

  • Fragrant Pale Yellow Flowers in Spring
  • Coral Red Fruit Stalks & Attractive Bluish Black Berries
  • Reddish Purple Fall Color & Wonderfully Textured Bark
  • 4 Seasons of Interest
  • Incredible Horizontal Branching Structure Looks Amazing in Snowfall
  • Use as a Shrub or Small Tree

#ProPlantTips for Care:

Pagoda Dogwood prefers cool, moist, acidic soils. Partial shade conditions where it will receive at least 4 hours of sunlight a day are ideal. It can handle up to 6 hours of direct sun a day, but it's best to provide a sheltered spot well out of the worst of the wind. In dry climates with hot afternoon sun, please give it a location with morning sun and afternoon shade. Pagoda Dogwood prefers well-drained soils. However, the plant will tolerate short periods of poorly draining soils. Try to water the soil with soaker hoses, and not the leaves with overhead watering to avoid leaf spot.

This disease-resistant tree requires regular water and will not tolerate any drought. Mulch the fibrous, surface-spreading roots with a layer of arborist bark chips that is 3-4 inches deep. Spread mulch out 3 feet from the outside of the canopy to keep the root zone cool and the moisture level even. Prune is required in the trees early years to shape and direct limb growth. Every 3-5 years, perform a renewal pruning, by cutting out a few of the oldest, thickest stems to the ground. Can be grown as a single-trunk tree or trained to a multi-trunk or even maintained as a low shrub with more aggressive pruning.

  • Thrives in Cold Weather & Part Shade
  • Tolerates Average to Wet Well-Drained Soils
  • Prune Late Winter/Eary Spring
  • Easy to Grow and Maintain
  • Deer Don't Prefer the Taste
  • Tolerates Black Walnut Juglone

This is a beautiful, easy-care, low-growing tree that works beautifully, even in smaller landscapes. Pagoda Dogwood is a fabulous addition to any yard! You'll fall in love with this wonderful selection. Order one or more healthy plants from Nature Hills and they will be boxed up and shipped directly from our field right to your doorstep. Enjoy!

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast does Pagoda Dogwood grow?

The Pagoda Dogwood shrub is a fast-growth rate native that can add about a foot or so of new growth each growing season.

Is the Pagoda Dogwood fragrant?

The Pagoda Dogwood has highly fragrant flowers!

How big does a Pagoda Dogwood get?

The Pagoda Dogwood can reach 15 - 20 feet in height and 20 - 25 feet of mature width in optimal conditions.

Will Pagoda Dogwood grow in full sun?

The Pagoda Dogwood grows in partial sun/shade and does not do well in full sun.

Is Pagoda Dogwood good for wildlife?

The Pagoda Dogwood is a fantastic wildlife shrub and it's a pollinator-friendly native that feeds birds with its fruit and is even a caterpillar host plant.

What Shipping Options Do You Offer? works closely with our growers and nursery professionals to ensure we ship when it is most appropriate for your area. Our goal is to deliver the hardiest plants by avoiding extreme high and low temperatures. Check out our shipping schedule for more information and to learn our wills and won'ts when it comes to shipping plants. Find your Dogwood Shrubs for sale here at!

Buying Options for Plants

Nature Hills sells a large variety of plants with several options available. Plants are offered in both potted containers and as dormant bare root without soil. Here is a helpful resource to understand your options as you create a beautiful landscape with help from Nature Hills.

Ever wonder what a larger plant will mean for your landscape? Container Sizes are really all about the age of the plant!

Seasonally, Nature Hills offers hand selected, high quality bare root trees, shrubs and perennials. Bare root plants are sold by height from the top of the root system to the top of the plant. Plants may be taller than the height minimums.

  • Popular sizes of select trees are 1 foot, 2 feet, 3 feet, etc.
  • Popular sizes of select bare root plants is 1 foot, 18 inches, etc.

Nature Hills Container Size by Volume

Keep in mind, specific varieties and different growing conditions can affect the rate at which plants grow. Variations in size may occur.

Young Plants to 18 Months
Size Volume
2"x2"x3" Ranges from .18 to .21 dry quarts / .198 to .23 dry liters in volume
4.5" Container Equal to .65 dry quart / .72 dry liter in volume
Sprinter Pot Equal to .63 dry quart / .69 dry liter in volume
4" Container Ranges from .31 to .87 / .35 to .96 dry liter in volume
6" Container Equal to 1.4 dry quarts / 1.59 dry liters in volume
1 Quart Equal to 1 dry quart / 1.1 dry liter in volume
5.5" Container Equal to 1.89 of a dry quart / 2.08 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x5" Ranges from .8 to 1.1 dry quarts / .88 to 1.2 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x6" Ranges from 1.0 to 1.3 dry quarts / 1.1 to 1.41 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x9" Ranges from 1.1 to 2.1 dry quarts / 1.2 to 2.3 dry liters in volume
4"x4"x10" Ranges from 1.7 to 2.3 dry quart / 1.87 to 2.53 dry liters in volume
Plants 18 Months - 2.5 Years Old
Size Volume
2 Quart Equal to 2 dry quarts / 2.2 dry liters in volume
#1 Container Ranges from 2.26 to 3.73 dry quarts / 2.49 to 4.11 dry liters in volume
5"x5"x12" Equal to 3.5 to 4.3 dry quarts / 3.85 to 4.74 dry liters in volume
Plants 2 - 4 Years Old
Size Volume
#2 Container Ranges from 1.19 to 1.76 dry gallons / 5.24 to 7.75 dry liters in volume
#3 Container Ranges from 2.32 to 2.76 dry gallons / 10.22 to 12.16 dry liters in volume
Plants 3 - 5 Years Old
Size Volume
#5 Container Ranges from 2.92 to 4.62 dry gallons / 12.86 to 20.35 dry liters in volume
#6 Container Ranges from 5.25 to 6.01 dry gallons / 23.12 to 26.42 dry liters in volume
#7 Container Ranges from 5.98 to 6.08 dry gallons / 26.34 to 26.78 dry liters in volume

About Plant Sentry™

Plant Sentry is designed to protect both consumers and the nursery trade from invasive plant pests and diseases. Sites that display the Plant Sentry protection badge are protected from consumers buying and nurseries shipping material carrying invasive pests and diseases.

This proprietary eCommerce software prevents the shipment of a restricted plant to each state. The Plant Sentry system includes a shipment certification program. The Plant Sentry Compliance Officer works closely with and each nursery or fulfillment center to ensure only compliant plants are sold to customers.

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To obtain a more accurate shipment time-frame, simply enter your zip code in the “Find Your Growing Zone” box to the right. Our plants are grown all over the country and lead time on items may be different because of this. Once your order is placed, you will also receive the specific shipment time-frame information as part of your order confirmation. Once an item ships, you will receive shipment notification and tracking numbers, so you can follow along while your plant travels to your doorstep. We use FedEx, UPS, or USPS at our discretion.

Due to winter weather we have put a hold on shipping to the areas shown below in grey. You can still order now and we will ship the plant to you during an appropriate time for your zone.

*If you have found your zone already, it will be highlighted in the table below.
Color Zone Times
3 Spring 2019
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Shipping Rates

At Nature Hills we handle, package and ship the products you order with the utmost care to ensure healthy delivery. Shipping and handling charges are calculated based on the tables below. Please note that some items include an additional handling surcharge, these will be noted on the item's product page.

From To S&H
0 - 19.99 24.99
20 - 49.99 29.99
50 - 69.99 34.99
70 - 99.99 39.99
100 - 129.99 44.99
130 - 149.99 48.99
150 - 150+ Approx 28%

Click here to see our full rates


Pagoda Dogwood Is Suited to Grow in Zones 4-8
Growing Zones 4-8
More Information
Brand Nature Hills' Choice
Botanical Name Cornus alternifolia
Type Deciduous
Mature Height 15 - 20 feet
Mature Spread 20 - 25 feet
Soil Well Drained
Moisture Moderate
Growth Rate Fast
Foliage Color Green
Fall Color Red
Pollinator Friendly Yes
Pruning Time Late Winter
Fragrant Yes