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Gray DogwoodCornus racemosa

  • Gray Dogwood shrub - Cornus racemosa
This tough, low-maintenance shrub offers subtle year-round beauty. White panicles of flowers brighten the landscape in June. White berries attract many birds in the late summer and early fall. And the reddish-pink fruit stems persist into the winter, adding a nice color contrast to the gray bark.

Gray dogwoods are great for borders, groups, and masses. They can also be grown as small trees to be used for foundations, entranceways, borders, or specimen planting.

Hardiness Zones

The gray dogwood can be expected to grow in Hardiness Zones 3–8. View Map

Tree Type

This shrub is considered both a flowering shrub and an ornamental shrub. It is typically planted for both its visual interest and profusion of spring flowers.

Mature Size

The gray dogwood grows to a height of 10–15' and a spread of 10–15' at maturity.

Growth Speed Slow Growth Rate

This shrub grows at a slow rate, with height increases of less than 12" per year.

Sun Preference

Full sun and partial shade are best for this shrub, meaning it prefers a minimum of 4 hours of direct, unfiltered sunlight each day.

Soil Preference

The gray dogwood adapts to a wide range of soil conditions and can tolerate wet conditions as well as drought.


This shrub:
  • Grows in an irregular to rounded shape.
  • Can be cut back to the ground if it becomes too large and woody.
  • Blooms for 7–10 days in late May or early June, with small, creamy white flowers arranged in flat panicles.
  • Is occasionally grown as a small tree, where it can be used for foundations, entranceways, borders or specimen planting.
  • Adapts to many soil types and conditions.
  • Transplants easily.
  • Features grayish-green to dark green leaves that are narrow-elliptic to ovate-lanceolate and 2–4" long, turning reddish-purple in the fall.
  • Produces ¼" white fruit that grows on reddish-pink pedicels and matures in late summer or early fall. The pedicels are exposed when the fruit falls, adding nice fall/winter color.

Wildlife Value

The gray dogwood is a forage plant for white-tailed deer. The berries appear before most other dogwoods, making it popular with the squirrels and over 100 bird species that eat the fruit. It forms a dense thicket, providing cover and nesting sites for wildlife.


The gray dogwood is native to the eastern and midwestern United States and southern Canada. Cornus is the Latin name for dogwood, and racemosa refers to the type of compound flower arrangement (raceme). Another common name is the panicled dogwood.