How to Start a Wild Dogwood Tree


The wild dogwood tree (Cornus florida) is a small, deciduous tree native to the eastern United States. Although there are many varieties, C. florida generally flowers in white, flat blooms with green centers. Hardy to USDA zones 5 to 9, the wild dogwood is generally started with hardwood cuttings, taken while the plant is dormant (fall through winter). The best time to take your cutting is before the buds swell. Look for young shoots that grow either in the center of the plant or near the ground, suggest the master gardeners at the University of Washington Extension.

Step 1

Cut a branch of new growth from the dogwood tree. The cutting should be 6 to 8 inches in length, and contain at least three buds. Mist the cutting and place it in a plastic bag, out of direct sunlight, until you are ready to plant it.

Step 2

Pour equal parts of perlite and potting soil into the planting pot and moisten it until the water drips from the bottom of the pot. Using your finger, or a pencil, poke a hole in the soil in which to set the cutting.

Step 3

Dip the cut end of the branch into the rooting hormone and tap it on the side of the jar to remove any excess powder or liquid. The bottom inch, at least, of the branch should be covered in hormone.

Step 4

Insert the cutting into the hole in the potting mix until at least three buds are buried. The deeper you plant the cutting, the more roots it will grow, so don't be afraid to bury almost the entire cutting. Once inserted into the hole, tamp the soil firmly around the cutting.

Step 5

Place the potted cutting outdoors in an area that is protected from direct sunlight, wind and frost.

Step 6

Transplant the cutting into the garden after its first year.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruning shears
  • Planting pot, 1 gallon
  • Rooting hormone
  • Potting soil
  • Vermiculite


  • Floridata: Cornus florida
  • Washington State University: Hardwood Cuttings and Live Stakes
Keywords: start wild dogwood tree, take wild dogwood cuttings, how to take hardwood cuttings

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations, worldwide. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.