You will find a dogwood tree to plant no matter what part of the country you live in. Dogwood trees bloom early in the spring and when the flowers are gone, they are replaced by fruit that lasts through the fall. The flowers will attract butterflies and the fruit will attract birds, both of them looking to the tree for a food source and helping the tree pollinate its flowers and spread its seeds.
Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) grows from 15 to 30 feet tall and from 15 to 35 feet across. The tree produces deciduous green leaves that grow from 3 to 6 inches long and turn red or purple in the fall. The small, yellow flowers bloom in spring and give way to bright red fruits that last into the winter. The plant likes moist soil and partial shade but can take full sun and is hardy in USDA Plant Hardiness zones 5 through 9--from Maryland to central Florida, across the South and up the West Coast. Plant the tree in the shade of taller varieties or as a background for shorter shrubs and flowers. The flowering dogwood is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring and the fruit is a favorite meal for both birds and squirrels.
Kousa dogwood (Cornus kousa) is a native of Japan, Korea and China. The tree grows up to 30 feet tall and about the same in width. It produces dark green leaves that measure from 2 to 4 inches long and 1 inch wide that change to red or red purple in the fall, small green-yellow flowers that bloom in the spring and raspberry-colored fruits that ripen from late August through October. The tree likes full sun or partial shade and a moist, fertile, well drained soil. Kousa dogwood is hardy in zones 5 through 8--from Maryland to northern Florida, across the South and up the West Coast. It can be planted as a specimen tree, lawn tree, near a patio or in small groupings.
Pogoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia L. f.) is also known as alternate-leaf dogwood and is native to the United States. It can be grown as a shrub or small tree and grows from 20 to 35 feet tall. The tree produces green leaves that turn to maroon in the fall, fragrant cream-white flowers that bloom in May and June and reddish-purple berries that grow in clusters. It likes full or partial shade and moist soil and is hardy in zones 3 through 7, from southern Canada and New England to just north of Florida and up the West Coast. The tree is a favorite of both birds and butterflies.