The flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is a small tree with an attractive, rounded shape and a short trunk. In the spring, new leaves unfold and showy pink or white blooms appear, which will last two to three weeks. In autumn, the dogwood will produce clusters of bright red berries, which become an important food for birds and wildlife. If you don't have adequate planting space, consider planting a dogwood tree in a container. Dogwood trees grown in containers require a bit of extra attention, but the beauty that will grace your balcony or deck will be worth the effort.
Purchase a dogwood tree at a reputable local nursery or greenhouse. Choose a small or dwarf variety of dogwood. The experts at the nursery or greenhouse will help you choose an appropriately sized dogwood tree that is suited to your climate.
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Choose a wide, sturdy pot that will be stable and won't blow over in windy conditions. Clay or terra cotta pots will be more stable than plastic pots, which can blow over easily.
Fill the pot about one-third full with a good quality commercial potting soil. Remove the dogwood tree from its container and set the tree on top of the potting soil. The dogwood tree should be planted at the same depth that it was planted in its nursery container. Add more soil to the bottom of the container, if necessary, to bring the tree to the proper level.
Add more potting soil, pressing the soil gently around the roots. Leave 1 to 2 inches unfilled at the top of the container to allow for watering.
Place the dogwood tree where it will be exposed to morning sunlight but protected from the sun during hot afternoons. Dogwoods grown in cooler northern climates can tolerate more sunshine. Afternoon shade is especially important in hot climates.
Water the dogwood tree immediately after planting. Keep the soil moist at all times, but don't allow it to become soggy. Containerized trees dry out quickly, so be sure to check the potting soil daily, especially during hot, dry weather.
Feed the dogwood tree monthly during spring and summer, using a water-based fertilizer. If you choose, you can feed the tree using a time-release fertilizer every three months.