The Ultimate Guide To Grow Red Twig Dogwood

By DZ official Published December 18, 2023
Last Updated
18 Dec 23

Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea) is a deciduous shrub native to North America. It is commonly known for its striking red bark, which can provide a bright spot of color in the winter landscape. In the spring, the shrub produces small clusters of white flowers, which give way to small, blueish-white berries in the summer. The leaves are oval-shaped and bright green, turning reddish-purple in the fall.

This plant chooses moist, well-drained soil and occupied sun to limited shade. It is a relatively low-maintenance plant and can be pruned in the dawn winter or initial spring to encourage the growth of new, brightly colored branches. In addition to its aesthetic qualities, the plant is also used for erosion control, as a windbreak, and to attract birds and other wildlife to the garden. Stem cuttings, layering, or from seeds can propagate it.

Types of Red Twig Dogwood

Several different types of this plant are commonly grown for their attractive red bark. Here are a few of the most popular cultivars:

  •  Baileyi: This cultivar is known for its dense growth habit and bright red stems. It can grow up to 8 feet tall and wide.
  • Cardinal: This cultivar resembles 'Baileyi' but has a more upright growth habit and deeper red stems. It can reach up to 10 feet tall and wide.
  • Flaviramea: This cultivar is prized for its yellow-green stems, which turn bright red in the winter. It can grow up to 6 feet tall and wide.
  •  Kelsey: This compact cultivar grows only about 2 feet tall and wide, making it a great choice for small gardens or containers. It has bright red stems and small, dark green leaves.
  •  Isanti: This cultivar is known for its intense red stem color and compact, rounded habit. It grows up to 6 feet tall and wide.

These cultivars are deciduous shrubs that prefer occupied sun to complete shade and well-drained soil. They can prune in late winter or early spring to encourage the growth of new, brightly colored branches.

How To Grow Red Twig Dogwood Shrub

This plant is a relatively low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow in most temperate climates. Here are some general guidelines on how to grow this plant:

Site selection:

It can bear a wide range of soil kinds, comprising moist soils, but does not do well in constantly waterlogged soils.


Excavation a hole two to three times as extensive as the root ball and somewhat thinner than the root ball. Place the plant in the hole and backfill it with soil, firming the soil around the roots.


Water newly planted the plant regularly for the first few weeks to help them establish a strong root system. After that, the plant only needs to be watered during periods of drought.


This plant does not require a lot of fertilizer, but you can apply a slow-release, balanced fertilizer in the spring if desired. Avoid using high-nitrogen fertilizers, as these can encourage excessive leaf growth at the expense of colorful stems.


This arctic fire red twig dogwood plant can prune in late winter or early spring to promote the growth of new, brightly colored branches. Prune back about one-third of the oldest branches to the ground, leaving the younger, more vibrant stems to grow.


It can be propagated by taking stem cuttings in the summer or layering the stems in the fall.

Following these general guidelines allows you to grow healthy and vibrant variegated Red Twig Dogwood shrub in your garden.

Taking Care of Red Twig Dogwood

The plant requires some basic care to grow and thrive. Here are some tips for taking care of arctic fire Red Twig Dogwood plants:

  • Watering: It prefers moist, well-drained soil but does not like sitting in waterlogged soil. Water deeply but infrequently to keep the soil evenly moist, especially during drought. Avoid overwatering, as this can lead to root rot.
  • Mulching: The benefits from a layer of organic mulch, such as shredded bark or compost. Put on a layer of mulch 2-3 inches deep about the base of the shrub, taking care not to let it touch the stems. Mulch helps retain moisture in the soil and suppress weeds, providing some insulation for the roots during cold weather.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Red Twig Dogwood shrub is generally resilient to most pests and illnesses but can be vulnerable to fungal infections in wet circumstances. Evade overhead watering and provide good air flow around the plant to prevent fungal diseases. Insects such as aphids or scale insects may occasionally infest the plant but can be treated with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil.

Following these care tips lets you keep your plant healthy and looking its best.


When to prune red twig dogwood?

It's important not to prune variegated Red Twig Dogwood bush too late in the season, as this can remove the new growth that will produce the colorful stems in the winter. If you wait too long to prune, you may have fewer bright stems the following winter.

How to prune red twig dogwood?

Pruning the plant is an important part of keeping it healthy and attractive. Here are the steps to prune red plant:

  •  Determine the best time to prune.
  •  Decide how much to prune.
  •  Use sharp, clean pruning shears or loppers to make the cuts.
  •  Make the cuts at a 45-degree angle above a healthy bud or branch. It will encourage new growth from the bud or branch.
  • Dispose of the pruned material properly. You can compost it or dispose of it in your yard waste bin.
  • Water the shrub well after pruning to encourage new growth.

How fast does variegated red twig dogwood grow?

Generally, It can grow up to 1-2 feet per year in good growing conditions. Young plants may grow faster than mature ones. Pruning can also affect the growth rate, as it can promote branching and new growth.

It is a relatively fast-growing shrub that can quickly establish itself in the landscape and provide attractive foliage and colorful stems in winter.

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