Growing Dogwood Trees from Seed

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:20 pm

Growing dogwood trees (Cornus spp.) from seed can be a rewarding but somewhat lengthy process. Dogwoods are deciduous trees or shrubs known for their attractive flowers, colorful foliage, and distinctive fruit. Here’s what you might expect one year after planting dogwood seeds:

Year 1: Germination and Seedlings

  1. Sowing Seeds: Start by collecting dogwood seeds from mature fruit in the fall. Clean the seeds and store them in a cool, dry place until you’re ready to plant.
  2. Stratification: Many dogwood species require a period of cold stratification to break dormancy. You can achieve this by placing the seeds in a plastic bag with moist, but not soaking wet, peat moss or a paper towel. Seal the bag and refrigerate it for several months.
  3. Sowing: In late winter or early spring, plant the stratified seeds in containers filled with a well-draining, sterile potting mix. Sow the seeds about 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep.
  4. Germination: Germination can be irregular and may take several weeks to several months. Keep the containers in a warm, well-lit area and maintain even moisture levels.
  5. Seedlings: By the end of the first year, your dogwood seeds should have germinated and developed into small seedlings with a few sets of true leaves. These seedlings are still quite delicate.
  6. Transplanting: Depending on their size and growth, you may need to transplant the seedlings into larger containers or directly into your garden or a larger nursery bed.

Year 2 and Beyond: Seedling Growth

Growing Dogwood Trees from Seed

Year 2:

  • In the second year, dogwood seedlings should become more robust and develop more leaves and branches. They may still be relatively small and should be handled with care.
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Year 3 and Beyond:

  • Dogwood seedlings will continue to grow and establish themselves. By year three or four, they may reach a size suitable for planting in their final location, such as your garden or a larger landscape.

Keep in mind that dogwoods are not fast-growing trees, and it may take several years for them to reach a mature size, depending on the species and growing conditions. Additionally, dogwood seedlings may show natural variation, so not all will grow into identical trees.

While growing dogwoods from seed can be a satisfying way to develop unique trees, keep in mind that nurseries often offer a variety of dogwood species and cultivars that have been specifically selected for desirable characteristics. These nursery-grown plants may provide more predictable results in terms of flower color, leaf shape, and overall appearance, making them a popular choice for many gardeners.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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