In our little corner of the world - Ulster County, NY - bloom time for Dogwoods of all varieties carries us from April through May. But there are four different Dogwood types, which bloom in succession during the spring season:
First to bloom: Native Dogwoods (Cornus florida), native to the Northeast stand out against the still brown forests in early to mid-April. Native Dogwoods are multi-stemmed with low branching, which gives them their elegant form. Cornus florida bears red fruit in the fall its foliage turns a striking red. Even in the winter, the branching structure is graceful making it a wonderful all season tree.
‘Appalachian spring’ is a very nice variety, disease resistant, and produces a lot of flowers even in deep shade
Cornus florida - A small deciduous tree, producing masses of white flower bracts on bare branches in early spring. Attractive red autumn colored foliage. Blooms: White bracts in April/May
Cornus florida 'Cherokee Brave'- One of the most spectacular spring flowering, small trees. The entire plant is covered with bracts that open dark pink, before fading to light pink. Grows to approx 18' - 20'. Good autumn foliage. Blooms: Pink bracts in April/May
Cornus florida 'Cloud 9'- A strong grower with light green foliage, forming a bushy small tree. Produces large white flowers in spring. This variety can tolerate shade, but can also thrive in full sun, provided it gets enough moisture. Grows 15' - 20' tall and wide. Blooms: White bracts in April/May
Second to bloom: Dogwood Hybrids, the crosses between the Flowering Dogwood and the Kousa Dogwood, native to Japan. Not all cultivars bloom at exactly the same time. Some bloom a bit earlier or later and sizes may vary slightly. Berry production may be different also. One variety, Cornus x 'Aurora' - A small tree, growing to approx 18' by 15'. In spring the plant is covered by masses of velvety white bracts developing pinkish overtones as the flowers age.
Third to bloom: Kousa Dogwood (Cornus kousa), or Japanese Kousa, blooms later than the other Dogwoods and it also gets quite a bit taller. The kousa produces large raspberry-like berries in the fall. It is usually a multi-stemmed tree with excellent disease resistance. Technically a large deciduous shrub, producing masses of creamy-white flowers in late spring to early summer, followed by strawberry-like fruit in autumn. Excellent autumn colors. Shade tolerant. Grows to approximately 20' tall. Blooms: Creamy-white bracts in April/May
Last to bloom: Cornus alternifolia – Also a native variety with distinctive green and white leaves. Grows 15-25' tall with spreading, horizontal, low branching. Branches grow in tiers on the main trunk, hence its name the "pagoda" dogwood. Blooms: Yellowish-white bracts in June.