Cherokee Brave Dogwood: An Easy-To-Grow Flowering Beauty

The striking beauty of a flowering dogwood tree is well-known, however not everyone is familiar with the various types that exist.

The Cherokee Brave variety is definitely one worth exploring. It is easy to grow and has gorgeous flowers that are a mix of light pink and white.  

A Cherokee Brave dogwood tree grows to be between 15 and 30 feet tall and 25 to 35 feet wide. Nutrient availability, watering consistency, and overall tree health all play a role in determining the mature size, but those planted in full sun will generally be smaller.

This is a beautiful tree to plant in your landscape, but what will it need in terms of care?

Continue reading for more details on the tree’s specifics as well as common pests, diseases to watch for, and where you can buy your own tree! 

The Cherokee Brave is popular for good reason, but there are lots more dogwood varieties worth exploring. See my article, The Best Dogwood Varieties, to learn more.

Cherokee Brave Dogwood

The Cherokee Brave dogwood is a unique pink variety with flowers that are light pink with a white center and white tips.

They grow slightly larger than other dogwood species and are sure to impress when in full bloom during the spring months. 

Botanical nameCornus florida ‘Comco No. 1’
Mature height15 to 30 feet tall
Mature width25 to 35 feet wide 
Growth rateMedium
Light preferencesPartial shade
Ideal soilWell-draining, loamy, fertile acidic soil
Watering needs1 to 2 inches per week when growing
Bloom timeSpring
Bloom color & fragrancePink and white with floral fragrance
Fall foliageCrimson red to maroon or purple

General Appearance

The flower petals, which are really bracts, are pink striped with white highlights in the center and at the tips. The tree is usually wider than it is tall and has a canopy of lush, green, ovate-shaped leaves.

Seasonal Color

Brightening up the spring with an early flower set, the Cherokee Brave dogwood will bloom before it grows any leaves.

With its pink-and-white flowers blooming in the spring, the flowers sit alongside a deep-green canopy of foliage as the season turns to summer.

In the summer, red berries will adorn the tree where the flowers once were.

As summer fades into fall, the tree will put forth a brilliant autumn color show with crimson-red leaves that may deepen to maroon in time.

During the tree’s winter dormancy, its brown or gray bark will be fully visible. 

Growth Rate & Mature Size

This variety grows at a medium rate, averaging about 1 to 2 feet per year. It will reach its mature size after about 10 years, growing to a height of 15 to 30 feet and a width of 25 to 35 feet wide. 

Blooms

Being one of the first to bloom in the spring, the Cherokee Brave variety will bloom with pink-and-white flowers as soon as the weather begins to warm.

You’ll be amazed not only by its beauty but also by the flowers’ strong floral fragrance.

Be sure to watch for its blooms because they only last about 1 to 2 weeks, but their abundance makes them a sight to see! 

Fall Foliage

Once the seasons begin to turn cooler, the leaves will transition from dark green to crimson red.

As the winter season approaches, the leaves may be more maroon or purple in color than red before dropping to the ground. 

Hardiness

Dogwoods are not very hardy trees and are easily affected by direct sun, high heat, and frost.

Partial shade protects them from sun scorch, and placing them in an area that doesn’t receive late frost will help keep them from becoming damaged during surprise frosts in late spring.

Several flowers of a Cherokee Brave dogwood blooming in dappled shade.

Cherokee Brave Dogwood Growing Conditions

Because dogwoods are understory trees, they need minimal sun and nutrient-rich soil.

When thinking about the understory of a forest, you realize that it is usually cool in temperature, has nutrient-rich soil, and remains moist.

You should attempt to recreate this environment to give your tree its ideal growing conditions. 

Grow Zones

Be sure to only plant a dogwood tree if you live in USDA Zones 3 through 8.

They will also grow in Zones 9 and 10 if in an area protected from the sun and harsh weather, but they prefer a temperate climate. 

Sun Requirements

Cherokee Brave dogwood trees prefer partial sun or filtered sunlight, so plant the tree in an area that receives 6 to 8 hours of filtered sunlight for the best results.

If constantly exposed to direct sunlight, the leaves may scorch, which negatively impacts photosynthesis and thus jeopardizes the health of the tree. 

Soil Preferences

You don’t want the soil to be completely saturated as this can lead to root rot. Soils kept consistently moist but not waterlogged are best.

The soil in the understory of a forest is usually rich in nutrients due to all of the debris that decomposes over time, so if necessary, amend the planting site with organic matter, such as compost.

Luckily, nutrient-rich soil will sway toward an acidic pH, which is exactly what dogwoods prefer!

A pH of 5.6 to 6.5 is ideal to see the most blooms on your tree. An acidic loamy-textured soil that drains well but holds some moisture is best. 

Cherokee Brave Dogwood Maintenance and Care

Dogwoods do not require much care unless you choose to supply them with additional nutrients, prune them to maintain a certain size, or need to mitigate a pest or disease.

See some examples below of when extra care should be given to your tree.

Watering

If the tree is planted in a shady environment, the soil will most likely remain moist for a while, so check the soil before watering the tree.

Your Cherokee Dogwood should receive 1 to 2 inches of water each week during the growing season. During the dormant season, it will not need as much water due to its lack of growth. 

Fertilization

Fertilizing your tree isn’t always necessary unless you diagnose a nutrient deficiency or would like to increase its blooms. If you choose to fertilize the tree, plan to do it just before new growth appears in early spring.

A slow-release balanced fertilizer for flowering trees and shrubs is ideal with an NPK of 10-10-10. 

Personally, I use this fertilizer for acid-loving plants and always have beautiful blooms on all my dogwoods.

Pruning

Regular pruning is not necessary since dogwoods keep a tidy shape on their own. If you wish to keep it a certain size, prune it after the flowers bloom in the spring.

Pruning before the flowers open will result in fewer blooms because you will be pruning the dormant buds off.

Always feel free to prune dead, diseased, or dying branches off at any time of the year to help keep your tree healthy. 

Pests & Diseases 

Most pests and diseases can be avoided by preventing saturated soil and ensuring the tree is in an area with ample airflow.

However, they are still susceptible to the pests and diseases listed below. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap to treat many of them, but sometimes a fungicide will be necessary as well. 

Diseases

  • Anthracnose – A fungal disease that will cause a significant decline in the tree. 
  • Armillaria root rot – A disease that occurs in waterlogged soil and leads to root rot. 
  • Botrytis blight – A fungal disease that causes spots on the leaves and a decline in the tree’s health. 
  • Canker – A disease that causes open wounds on the tree that ooze sap. 
  • Fungal leaf spot – A fungal disease that prevents the tree from photosynthesizing. 
  • Powdery mildew – A fungal disease that causes a white powdery substance to form on the leaves. 

Pests

  • Dogwood borer – A beetle that will bore into the trunk and feed on the tree’s nutrients. 
  • Dogwood club-gall midge – A pest that causes galls to form on twigs and branches, which often result in dieback. 
  • Scale – Small white pests that will cover the tree’s branches and feed on its nutrients. 

Landscape Uses & Wildlife Value

A beautiful ornamental tree, the Cherokee Brave dogwood will awe all who see it in full bloom! It is ideal as a single specimen tree or can provide some needed shade in small garden.

Groupings or rows are also options, depending on the size of you yard.

Use it to add a spring pop of color to your yard while attracting pollinators and birds. Songbirds love the red berries in the summer! 

Companion Plants

Other plants that enjoy the same growing requirements as the dogwoods are azaleas, rhododendrons, ferns, doghobble, mountain laurel, and mapleleaf viburnum.

Where To Buy

Dogwoods are common nursery plants, but sometimes nurseries don’t have the exact variety you are looking for.

Check out the online nurseries below to have your very own Cherokee Brave dogwood delivered right to your door! In no time you’ll be enjoying its blooms in your yard. 

Conclusion 

A showy, easy-care tree, the Cherokee Brave dogwood is one that is amazing to see in full bloom but is also a nicely shaped shade tree during the non-blooming season.

As long as its basic needs are met and you regularly inspect the tree for any issues, it shouldn’t require much maintenance and will brighten your yard every spring with pretty, pink blooms.

If you enjoyed learning about the Cherokee Brave dogwood but aren’t sure if it’s right for you, check out these other varieties for comparison: