There is a variety of dogwood trees suitable for growing in Florida. Regardless of whether you live in the northern regions of the state or the warmer south, a species of dogwood tolerates your area's growing conditions, according to the University of Florida. Dogwoods fill the landscape with their clusters of flowers and are well suited as specimen trees and have the extra benefit of attracting butterflies, beneficial insects and birds.
Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) grows well throughout the northern and central regions of Florida located within U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 and 9, according to the University of Florida. The trees have a rounded shape and are deciduous. Springtime fills the tree's canopy with white or pink flowers with clusters of red fruits following the blooming stage. Birds and small mammals use the berries as food. The tree works well used in backgrounds, as a specimen or planted under larger trees such as oaks.
These trees grow best in a partial shade environment, growing up to 30 feet in height with a 20-foot spread at maturity. Flowering dogwood prefers growing in rich, well-drained soils that are moist, so regular watering benefits the tree's growth and flowering. Gardeners should plant trees where they receive good air circulation to cut down on diseases.
English dogwood (Philadelphus indorus) grows well in North Florida areas located within USDA hardiness zones 8a and 8b, according to the University of Florida. Plants are trainable as a smallish tree through pruning. Left in their natural state trees grow as a large shrub. Trees have dark green, glossy, heart-like foliage. In spring, white, four-petal flowers with yellow centers bloom. English dogwood trees works well used as specimens, as backdrop or used in mixed perennial gardens.
These trees grow relatively fast, reaching mature heights of up to 12 feet with a spreading habit of up to 10 feet. English dogwood grows in a variety of well-drained soils and has a high tolerance to drought conditions. The plants tolerate full sun to partial shade conditions.
Swamp dogwood (Cornus foemina), also called stiff dogwood, grows well throughout the entire state of Florida. Its hardy growing in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 10, according to the University of Florida. Its natural habit is to grow as a large shrub, but is training as a smallish tree through pruning. The tree fills with clusters of white, four-petaled flowers in springtime. Berry-like fruits, which various birds use as a food source, follow the flowering phase. The spring azure butterfly uses the dogwood as a host plant for its larva.
Swamp dogwood grows at a medium rate of speed, reaching a mature height and spread of 10 to 16 feet. This native grows in sun to partial shade. Its low tolerance to drought and salt spray make it an unsuitable choice for gardeners living directly along the coast. Plants grow best given regular water applications.
For over 25 years, Joyce Starr has owned businesses dealing with landscape & design, lawn maintenance, specialty herbs and a garden center. She holds certificates in landscape design and xeriscaping. Starr shares her passion for nature in her writing, publishing articles on horticulture, outdoor recreation, travel as well as business.