While there are three well-known species of dogwood trees in America, only one is best known for its distinctive flowers. That one is the flowering dogwood, or Cornus florida, a highly popular choice among home gardeners, according to Clemson University.
Dogwood trees grow to different sizes depending on the species and cultivar. Most are moderate-sized trees ranging from 20 to 40 feet in height. Interestingly, all dogwoods grow at about the same, rather slow rate of less than one foot per year, according to Clemson University.
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The flowering dogwood (C. florida), one of the largest, grows to 40 feet with a spread of 20 feet. The tree requires partial shade for maximum height, as too much sunlight will stunt the tree's growth. C. kousa grows more like a shrub, with an average height and width of 20 feet. It will take this dogwood 10 years to reach a size of 15 feet, but the tree has a beautiful fall color. C. mas, or the Cornelian cherry dogwood, features yellow spring flowers and grows on multiple stems to a maximum height of 25 feet and width of 20 feet.
Many things can affect the growth of dogwood trees. They are highly susceptible to pests and diseases, according to Rutgers University. For that reason, hybrids are usually hardier than native trees.