Silky Dogwood: Complete Growing Guide for Cornus amomum

Picture a shrub that not only enhances the appearance of your landscape, but also provides a refuge for wildlife – a versatile plant that boasts an array of vibrant colors throughout all seasons.

Welcome to the wonderful Silky dogwood, a versatile and attractive shrub that can transform your garden into a beautiful sanctuary.

The best place to plant a Silky dogwood is in a location with full sun to partial shade. It prefers moist, well-drained soil and can thrive in various soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soil. It’s also a great choice for areas near streams or ponds as it can tolerate wet conditions.

This guide will answer all your questions about the Silky dogwood, providing you with all the information you need to successfully grow and care for this remarkable plant.

Key Takeaways

  • The Silky dogwood is a versatile and attractive shrub that thrives in a variety of conditions, including different soil types and light conditions. It’s hardy in Zones 5-8.
  • Regular watering and yearly fertilization can help promote the health and vigor of the Silky dogwood, but monitoring for pests and diseases is recommended.
  • The Silky dogwood is excellent for creating hedges or privacy screens, and its flowers and fruits attract pollinators and feed birds and small mammals.

Dive into many other Dogwood shrubs in my article on the Best Dogwood Shrub Varieties.

Silky Dogwood

The Silky dogwood is a North American native that has won the hearts of many gardeners and landscapers with its adaptability and aesthetic appeal. Here’s a quick overview of its key characteristics:

Botanical NameCornus amomum
Mature Height6-12 feet
Mature Width6-12 feet
Growth RateMedium
Light PreferencesFull sun to partial shade
Ideal SoilMoist, well-drained soil
Watering NeedsRegular watering, especially in dry conditions
Bloom TimeLate spring to early summer
Bloom Color & FragranceWhite flowers with a subtle fragrance
Fall FoliageReddish-purple leaves

General Appearance

The Silky dogwood is a multi-stemmed shrub with a rounded form. Its branches are covered with dark-green leaves that turn reddish-purple in the fall, adding a splash of color to your garden.

In late spring to early summer, it produces clusters of small, white flowers that attract butterflies and other pollinators.

In the fall, these flowers give way to bluish-white berries that are a favorite among birds.

Seasonal Color

The Silky dogwood is a plant for all seasons. In spring, its dark-green foliage provides a beautiful backdrop for the white flowers.

In summer, the leaves remain a vibrant green while the berries start to form. Fall brings a dramatic change, with the leaves turning reddish-purple and the berries maturing to a bluish-white.

Even in winter, the Silky dogwood remains attractive with its reddish-brown stems that stand out against the snow.

Growth Rate & Mature Size

The Silky dogwood has a medium growth rate and can reach a height and width of 6-12 feet when fully mature.

Its multi-stemmed, rounded form makes it an excellent choice for creating a dense hedge or a privacy screen, but it is lovely as a single focal-point feature as well.


The blooms of the Silky dogwood are a sight to behold. They appear in late spring to early summer as clusters of small, white flowers.

These blooms not only add beauty to the plant but also emit a subtle fragrance that can make your garden smell delightful.

Fall Foliage

One of the highlights of growing a Silky dogwood is its stunning fall foliage.

As the temperatures drop, the dark-green leaves transform into a brilliant reddish-purple, creating a striking contrast with the bluish-white berries.


The Silky dogwood is a hardy plant that can withstand a variety of conditions. It’s tolerant of different soil types, including clay, loam, and sandy soil.

It can also survive in both full sun and partial shade, making it a versatile choice for different garden settings.

Furthermore, it’s able to tolerate wet conditions, which makes it an excellent choice for planting near water bodies or in areas with poor drainage.

The Silky dogwood is also resilient when it comes to temperature fluctuations. It’s hardy in Growing Zones 5-8, which means it can withstand winter temperatures down to -20°F (-29°C).

This hardiness, combined with its beautiful aesthetics and wildlife value, makes the Silky dogwood a valuable addition to any landscape.

Silky Dogwood Growing Conditions

The Silky dogwood is a plant that thrives in a variety of conditions, making it a versatile choice for different landscapes, but understanding its growing conditions is key to ensuring its health and vigor.

Grow Zones

The Silky dogwood is hardy in USDA Zones 5-8. This means it can thrive in a wide range of climates, from the cold winters of the northern United States to the milder climates of the southern regions.

It’s adaptable to different weather conditions, making it a resilient choice for gardens across these Zones.

Sun Requirements

While the Silky dogwood can tolerate a range of light conditions, it prefers full sun to partial shade. In full sun, it produces more flowers and fruits, enhancing its ornamental value.

However, in hotter climates, some afternoon shade can help prevent leaf scorch and keep the plant looking its best.

Soil Preferences

The Silky dogwood is not picky about soil types. It can grow in clay, loam, and sandy soils.

It prefers moist conditions and can even tolerate wet soils, making it a good choice for areas near water bodies or with poor drainage.

The ideal soil pH is neutral to slightly acidic, but the plant is quite adaptable and can tolerate a range of soil pH levels.

Silky Dogwood Maintenance and Care

While the Silky dogwood is a relatively low-maintenance plant, some care is required to keep it healthy and attractive.


Regular watering is important for the Silky dogwood, especially during dry periods.

While it can tolerate some drought once established, it prefers consistently moist soil. Water deeply and less frequently to encourage deep root growth.


A yearly application of a balanced, slow-release fertilizer in early spring can help promote vigorous growth.

Espoma Organic Holly-Tone 4-3-4 Plant Food, 4lbs

Check Latest Price
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

However, avoid overfertilization as it can lead to excessive growth and reduce the plant’s hardiness.


Pruning is not usually necessary for the Silky dogwood, but it can be done to maintain a desired shape, and dead or diseased branches should always be removed.

The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.

Pests & Diseases

The Silky dogwood is generally resistant to most pests and diseases. However, it can occasionally be affected by dogwood borers and scale insects.

Diseases such as leaf spot and powdery mildew can occur, especially in humid conditions. Good air circulation and avoiding wetting the leaves can help prevent these diseases.

Landscape Uses & Wildlife Value

The Silky dogwood is a versatile plant that can be used in various ways in the landscape.

It’s excellent for creating a dense hedge or privacy screen, and its attractive flowers and fall color make it a great specimen plant. It’s also a good choice for stabilizing stream banks and preventing soil erosion.

In addition to its landscape uses, the Silky dogwood provides significant wildlife value. Its flowers attract pollinators, and its fruits are a food source for birds and small mammals.

Deer seem to love this plant, so keep that in mind if your area has a high deer population.

Companion Plants

The Silky dogwood pairs well with other native plants that enjoy similar conditions. Consider planting it with one or more of the following:

  • Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea): Another native dogwood species, the Red Osier dogwood offers stunning red stems that provide winter interest and contrast beautifully with the Silky dogwood.
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin): This native shrub offers fragrant yellow flowers in spring and vibrant yellow foliage in fall, complementing the Silky dogwood’s seasonal colors.
  • Ferns: Various fern species, such as the Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina) or Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), can provide a lush, green understory for the Silky dogwood.
  • Hostas: With their wide variety of leaf colors, shapes, and sizes, hostas can provide a beautiful contrast to the Silky dogwood.
  • Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica): These spring-blooming perennials offer beautiful blue flowers that can complement the Silky dogwood’s white blooms.
  • Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta): The bright yellow flowers of black-eyed Susan can provide a striking contrast to the Silky dogwood’s foliage and blooms.
  • Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis): The early spring pink flowers of the eastern redbud can provide a beautiful backdrop for the Silky dogwood.
  • Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum): This native grass can add texture and movement to the garden, complementing the Silky dogwood’s form.
  • Winterberry (Ilex verticillata): The bright red berries of the winterberry can provide a striking contrast to the Silky dogwood’s blue-white fruits in fall and winter.
  • Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.): With their bold colors and long bloom time, coneflowers can add visual interest to the garden and attract pollinators.
  • Bee Balm (Monarda didyma): Bee balm’s vibrant flowers attract hummingbirds and bees, adding to the wildlife value of your garden.
  • Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis): The bright red flowers of the cardinal Flower can provide a striking contrast to the Silky dogwood’s blooms and attract hummingbirds.
  • Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum): This tall, late-summer blooming perennial can add height to the garden and attract butterflies.
  • Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum): The delicate pink or purple flowers of wild geranium can provide a beautiful contrast to the Silky dogwood’s bold blooms.
  • Goldenrod (Solidago spp.): Goldenrod’s bright yellow flowers can add a splash of color to the fall garden, complementing the Silky dogwood’s fall foliage.

Where To Buy

Silky dogwood plants occasionally can be found in local nurseries. Online plant retailers are a great option if you can’t find a Silky dogwood in your area. Here are a few I recommend:

Final Thoughts

With its year-round interest, adaptability, and wildlife value, the Silky dogwood is a plant that truly gives back. With a little know-how and effort, it will reward you with seasonal interest and beauty for many years.

Can’t make up your mind about the perfect Dogwood shrub? Discover these popular varieties to find the one that fits best.