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Red Twig Dogwoods for Winter Color

Red Twig Dogwood - Photo Credit -

Red Twig Dogwoods for Winter Color

Winter Red-i-Ness: Red Twig Dogwoods for Winter Color


While there is an architectural beauty to be found in winter’s bare trees and neutral palette, we admit there are times when we simply crave some color. Thankfully, there’s the Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus Sericea) to come to our rescue.


Red Twig Dogwood is a planting for all seasons with its lovely spring flowers, beautiful summer and fall foliage (accented with bluish/white berries!) and brilliant red stems in winter. A hedge of these gorgeous shrubs looks breathtaking against a snowy backdrop or lush evergreens. While these shrubs prefer a moist soil and ample sunlight, they are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions and can handle shade better than many other ornamental shrubs.


Keep the Color Going


The best red color appears on one and two year old stems. Over time, the stems will turn corky and brown. To maintain the brilliant red color, you can either cut the entire shrub back every two years or cut one third of the plant back every year. The latter is recommended if you’re using the dogwoods as a screen for your property. Early spring is the best time to prune.


The Perfect Fit


Varieties range from small to large, so there’s a perfect plant for every yard and purpose:


  • Kelsey’s Dwarf Red-Osier Dogwood is one of the smallest North American native options, maxing out at two feet tall and wide. These can work well as foundation plantings and for erosion control on steep slopes.
  • Arctic FireTM has spectacular dark red stems and reaches a height and width of only 4 feet. Consider this for a low shrub border or a statement specimen in a larger container.
  • As the name notes, Variegated Red Twig Dogwoods have beautiful variegated leaves that reveal intensely red stems when they fall. This vigorous and adaptable plant can reach a height of 8 feet and width of 6 feet. With ample room, this is a great choice for naturalizing.
  • There are taller varieties—reaching a height of 9 feet and width of 5 feet—for real dramatic impact. You can cut the brilliant red branches for a stunning indoor arrangement, too.


Need more ideas for amping up the color in your winter landscape? Contact us at Farmside—we’re here to help!


Main Image Photo Credit: Red Twig Dogwood –