Red Twig Dogwood – How to Grow,Care,Varieties,Propagation [Full Guide]

Red twig dogwood is a plant that adds four moons to your garden. The vibrant color of this plant is its biggest plus point. If you are thinking of making a new garden, then this plant should be one of them.

It is very attractive plant and the bright red color on the stem picks everyone’s attention.

In summer and spring season the stem is in green color but when autumn starts it turns red which makes this plant more beautiful and different from other same size plants.

Most of the time, People mistook it as a tree but these are called shrub plants which means they have multiples stems and their size are shorter than tree.

Their are 2 most popular shrub plant which produces edible berries.

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Those plants are raspberries and blackberries.

Red twig Dogwood

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It belong to cornaceae Family and are Native to North America.

According to Wikipedia, Other names of these plants are red willow, red-rood, western dogwood, creek dogwood, red twig dogwood( that is called by most of the people), American dogwood.

According to, Red twig dogwood shrubs can grow from 5 to 9 feet tall and spreads from 5 to 10 foot long. They can grow in both full sun(means more than 6 hours direct sunlight) and partial shade (less than 3-6 hours direct sunlight).

They require good fertile soil & when shrub are young they need its soil to be moist.

The color of flower is white which blooms in spring & fall in autumn.

When edible berries turn white from green color in mid summer, the flower and the fruit both look spectacular with bright red color at the back on its stem.

The Perfect location to grow red twig dogwood(Cornus sericea) would be your own house window so that you can get a good top-notch view when the leaves started changes its color in fall and shrub starting shredding its leaves.

You can grow these with yellow twig dogwood and these 2 will add more stunning view to your garden.

Two Species are very similar to red twig dogwood.

These 2 species are Redosier dogwood and Tatarian dogwood.

How to grow Red twig dogwood

It can grow in most of the soil and a good light condition. It has loose form so planting 3-4 shrub in bulk would be the best.

Its USDA zone are from 2 to 8 according to

It is one of the shrub that can survive the soggy conditions.

You can remove 3rd old stems every year and make sure not to prune the new stems.

If the root of the plant has come too much, then you can trim some roots with the help of Spade.

Roots can be trimmed from last root tip.Make sure don’t trim too much. these roots can regrow and become more healthier again.

When planting these shrub you should give them space as their root spreads quite long.

red twig dogwood


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Here is the 6 factor on how to grow Red twig dogwood :


This Twig plant generally don’t require much of a fertilizer but to make its stem more stronger you can try one of the best fertilizer,  I suggest you go with slow release fertilizer in the early spring as this fertilizer is safe and its not going to burn your plant leaves. You can use compost and mix the sides of upper soil without hurting center root.

Here are the best 3 slow release fertilizer for your Red twig dogwood :

  1. Miracle Gro
  2. Milorganite

  3. Osmocote


Red twig dogwood can adjust in partial shade , but better if you grow it in full sunlight. The more light they get the more bright they look.


These shrubs grows in moist areas. You can see these plants growing  near ponds and streams. If in your area their is no rainfall you must water them whenever the soil gets dry.


These shrubs gets affected by humidity and extreme hot weather , and it may get exposed to diseases like Dogwood Anthracnose it can infect leaves that starts to turn brown.

Canker is also a disease that can eat branches or twigs that leads to plant not to survive any longer and die.

Its Prevention can be making above soil soft , removing all fallen leaves, pruning the dead stems, and make sure no other plant is covering the light which points to red twig dogwood.


It can support mostly all temperature and cleanliness is important and proper sunlight also.


Acidic Soil is preferred by many but normal moist soil can work pretty well which gets water drain easily.

Red twig Dogwood Care

To Tell you on How to Care Red twig Dogwood requires pruning that is a necessary part of its growth and can be done once a year if you see dead stem and brown pale leaves you should do it & doing so can make your shrub stem bright.

You can get an idea of which stem to cut, it may look colorless , damaged, old, weak , not attractive.

If you don’t remove it then it can give your red twig dogwood bad impression & look.

You can control its height by cutting its stem from above.

The best height would be 8-9 inch (20-23 cm) from ground soil, It is need so we can cut down overgrown stems. that way you can rejuvenate the shrub once again.

Give them water in absence of rainfall in your city.

Water it once a week or if you see soil gets dry in twig dogwood plant.The plant needs your care to grow. If you take care of them you can get to see when it blooms.

Blend of Soil and fertilizer & put it near root ball  and outside of upper layer.

This will give nutrients to the plant. You can use slow release fertilizer that can be suggest by everyone.

Also Check : Guide on How to Grow Cast Iron Plant –  Air purifier plant

Here is the link to buy red twig dogwood plant :

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Red Twig Dogwood Propagation

It is very simple to propagate red twig dogwood plant.

Propagating is method where we need to cut certain part of the plant it may be rhizome , stem, upper leave or single root to make a new plant.

Here are steps on How to Propagate Red Twig Dogwoods :

1. First wait for the autumn season

when the red twig dogwood(Cornus sericea) is fully matured, and you can test it by bending its bush (branch or twigs) , if they not able to bend then its perfect for the cutting.

2. Before Cutting,

Prepare your pot and fill 1/2 coarse sand, 1/2 finely milled peat. Mix well both then sprinkle Water & let it drain for 20 minutes.

3. Cut stem

piece of 6 inch length and wide as a pen.

4. Dip the stem

in rooting hormone and the side would be which is connected to main root.

5. Plant the stem

in your pot and place it under shed or cooler area so the root can develop.

6. Check the roots

after 5 to 6 weeks by lightly digging and If it develops make sure shift it to a larger 8 inch container and transfer it to outside shelter so the plant gets fresh air and indirect light.

7.  Twice give water

in 7 days whenever necessary.

8. Plant in the next autumn

in your garden with full sunlight.

It can take about an year to develop some roots after that you can transfer it to direct sunlight area.

Red osier dogwood Varieties

It mainly has 2 variety and both these shrub shows purple foliage in fall.

Both of these shrub are native to red twig dogwood. Red osier dogwood is another name of red twig dogwood.

Cardinal Red Osier dogwood

They can grow 6-9 feet and spread about 8-12 foot. They(Cornus sericea) can grow in both full sun and partial shade ,Its white Flower maks your garden more attractive.

Flowing can be seen on late spring and early summer.

Pruning is not required but its good if you can remove 15-25% old or dead stems in early spring.

Soil need to be moist when they are young.The space you need is same as how much it spreads.

Arctic Fire Red Osier dogwood

They are fast growing shrubs and can be grown in both full sunlight and partial shade same as the Cardinal dogwood. they grows about 3-4 feet and spreads around 4 feet.

Leaves is generally green and at the time of fall it turns red , same with the twigs. they adapt to most of soil and the soil needs to be moist when they are baby plant about 2-6 months.

Also Check : Best Time to Grow Autumn Blaze Maple Tree | Official Tree Caring Guide

Variegated Red twig dogwood

Non gardeners who are unfamiliar with this word “variegated” it means that leaves shows more than 1 color, and you can see green as well as red color in leaves or may be white in its pattern or edge.

Here in the below picture, you can see the color in the edge of leaves it is white color and this color has made a pattern.

If you see leaves have 2 color white and green and this shrub have 3 color white, green, red(on the stem) , how amazing it is.

Growing zone of this shrub is 3-7. shrub can grow about a size of 6 to 8 tall and wide.

Amazing Red color on stem , white berries that turns green or blue , perfect fall color makes this shrub ideal for landscaping.

Variegated Red twig dogwood

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1. My red twig dogwood is not showing intense red color on its stem? What to do?

A. Many people get upset due to lack of red color in the stem of this plant. If you forgot to prune this plant, this is the issue as you should remove the old, dead stem of this plant so that it can grow properly. You can remove the 3rd stem or trim all the stem up to 9-10 inch in every 3 years then your plant can give appropriate nutrients to its flower & stem eventually it will grow healthier and faster.

2. Why my Red Twig Dogwood bush leaves getting brown in color?

A. May be you are not giving it proper water (first reason), When red twig dogwood is young it need to watered daily for an about 2 weeks then you can do 3 days a week and after that once a week. Most of the time you should check its soil if it is dry water it and if not don’t water it. that is the simple rule. Adding h-ardwood mulch on the surface can help also but its optional. lastly you can check the branches if its getting pale then remove it.

3. Why my red twig dogwood leaves are turning yellow?

A. Green Color turns yellow mainly due to pests or diseases or you can put hardwood mulch 2-3 inch & cover it so it retain moisture. If it is a disease check the pen state website for dogwood diseases (with pictures) to confirm what disease your shrub is infected.

4. Red twig dogwoods turned black, what to do?

A. It may be fungal or bacterial infection. You can apply mancozeb, chlorothalonil to save guard leaves of the shrub or you can directly spray fungicide for better result.


Firstly this plant grows fast , has a very vibrant red stem , looks quite unique and I see only one reason to have this in my household, It sure has red twigs which are quite unique and never seen this one before. It does add a new unique look to your garden, even telling friends and neighbors about this plant can give you one extra respect , this variety grows in water, roots automatically appear  , stem cutting works what is another reason you need. this plant is best.

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Amelia Clark

I'm Amelia Clark , a seasoned florist and gardening specialist with more than 15 years of practical expertise. Following the completion of my formal education, I dedicated myself to a flourishing career in floristry, acquiring extensive understanding of diverse flower species and their ideal cultivation requirements. Additionally, I possess exceptional skills as a writer and public speaker, having successfully published numerous works and delivered engaging presentations at various local garden clubs and conferences. Check our Social media Profiles: Facebook Page, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Youtube, Instagram Tumblr

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