The horizontal branching of this deciduous tree native to China and Japan creates a tiered effect and earned it the second common name, wedding cake tree. The distinctive look is even more dramatic in the white-variegate form. Growing up to forty-five feet tall, it is much larger than other dogwoods but care must be taken to choose a strong specimen that will develop a good central leader to support the branches. In spring small white flowers are produced in seven inch wide flat clusters that create a spectacular look in spite of the small size of the individual flowers. Green berries follow that turn blue-black in summer and attract birds. The three to six inch long leaves are dark green on the upper side, silvery green below, and may turn dark purple-red in the fall. Giant dogwood is an unusual and striking specimen tree that can be a focal point in a garden.
Type: Flowering deciduous tree
Outstanding Features: Horizontal branching
Form: Rounded with distinct tiers
Growth Rate: Medium to rapid
Bloom: Clusters of white flowers seven inches wide, in spring
Size: 35-45’ H x 20-30’ W
Light: Full sun to partial shade; afternoon shade in hot climates
Soil: Average, moist, well-drained, acidic
Hardiness: Zones 5-8
Pests and Diseases: Susceptible to canker, leaf spot, root rot, borers, leaf miners, and scale.
Propagation: Hardwood or greenwood cuttings; grafting
Outstanding Selection: Variegata (leaves with white margin)
Photo from Wikipedia