Silky Dogwood Information: Growing Silky Dogwood Shrubs

silky dogwood
Image by Michael Wolf

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Also known a swamp dogwood, silky dogwood is a mid-size shrub that grows wild along streams, ponds and other wetlands across much of the eastern half of the United States. In the home landscape, silky dogwood bushes work well in moist, naturalized areas and do a good job at stabilizing the soil in erosion-prone sites. Mature height generally ranges from 6 to 12 feet. Read on for additional silky dogwood information.

Silky Dog Information

Silky dogwood (Cornus amomum) is named for the silky gray hairs that cover the undersides of leaves and twigs, which turn purplish in spring and reddish-brown in autumn. It is from these silky hairs that make silky dogwood identification fairly easy.

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Clusters of tiny creamy white flowers bloom in late spring and early summer. The plant is often found in shade or semi-shade but tolerates moderate sunlight.

Silky dogwood bushes may not be the best choice if your goal is a tidy, manicured garden, but the shrub’s rather unkempt, rounded appearance fits well into a natural setting. Birds love the pale blue fruit that shows up in late summer.

Growing Silky Dogwood Shrubs

A relative of dogwood trees, silky dogwood bushes are suitable for growing in USDA plant hardiness zones 5 through 8. The shrubs are adaptable plants that tolerate either dry or wet sites, but prefer moist, well-drained soil. Although silky dogwood withstands alkaline soil, the plant is better suited to slightly acidic conditions.

Caring for Silky Dogwoods

Water young shrubs regularly until the roots are well established. Once the shrubs are settled in, caring for silky dogwoods requires little effort. For example, you can water the shrub – or not. A 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch will keep the soil moist and cool. No fertilizer is required.

Remove suckers if you want to limit growth, or allow the shrubs to grow unrestrained if you want to form a naturalized screen or thicket. Prune silky dogwood as needed into any size or shape you like, and be sure to remove dead or damaged growth.

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