Winter Dogwood Varieties: What Are Good Standout Dogwoods In Snow

Red Dogwood Covered In Snow
dogwood winter
(Image credit: iv-serg)

After summer’s vivid blossoms and bright foliage, winter’s landscape can feel a bit somber. There are some varieties of trees and shrubs that can change all that though. One great pick is colorful dogwoods. These trees and shrubs light up your backyard in winter with their vibrant stem color. Read on for our take on standout winter dogwood varieties. 

Dogwoods for Winter

It is hard to find more versatile ornamental shrubs and trees than those in the dogwood family. Most flowering dogwoods put on the petal-show in spring, offer bright foliage in summer, and put on a fiery fall show. There are many dogwoods with winter interest as well.

Don’t expect flowers or even foliage from winter dogwood varieties. Instead, dogwoods are attractive in winter because the lack of foliage reveals their attractive trunks and stems. For the best contrast, admire these dogwoods in snow. 

Dogwoods in Snow

If you’ve ever seen pictures of dogwoods in snow, you know what an impact these trees can have in a backyard. The top dogwoods with winter interest have twigs or bark in vibrant shades of red, maroon, or yellow and are real standouts in a bare winter landscape.

One to try is Tatarian dogwood (Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’). It is a remarkable ornamental, with green shoots all spring and summer long that turn red or yellow in autumn. The color continues to deepen through winter. For red winter stems, try the cultivar 'Argenteo-marginata' or ‘Ivory Halo.’ For yellow stems, you’ll like 'Bud's Yellow.' It also offers bright fall foliage color. 

Colorful Dogwoods

Some ornamental dogwoods are shrubs, not trees, and they top out about 8 feet (2 m.) tall and wide. They make great hedges that are surprisingly easy to maintain. The best cultivars have stems that are stand-out red or yellow after the leaves fall.

There are more than a few ornamental dogwoods for winter for you to choose from. One popular choice is blood twig dogwood (Cornus Sanguinea ‘Cato’), a dwarf cultivar with yellow stems and crimson tips during winter. 

Another is American dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Cardinal’), a dogwood for winter with year-round interest. Summer’s green foliage turns red in fall, providing an attractive contrast with the white berries. When the leaves fall in winter, the twigs are various shades of red through winter.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.