From Southern Livings’ Blog here.
What A Dogwood Needs
Contrary to popular belief, flowering dogwood grows just fine in full to partial sun. It’ll grow well in shade too, but it won’t bloom. The trick to growing it in full sun is giving loose, acid, fertile, moist soil — no rocks or clay — and extra water during hot, dry stretches. Soak the roots with a hose; don’t rely on lawn sprinklers. If you let the tree wilt, the leaves will scorch badly (brown and curl on the edges) and may not set flower buds. Also spread a generous layer of mulch under the tree (but don’t pile it up against the trunk) to cool the roots and keep the soil moist.
Why plant in sun in the first place? Because a happy tree in sun sets many more flowers.
When you visit the garden center, always buy container-grown trees that are named selections. These offer a guaranteed flower color, heavier and earlier blooming, and disease-resistance. Don’t settle for cheaper seed-grown trees simply labeled “white” or “pink.” Seed-grown trees may be gems or dogs — there’s no way to tell when you buy.
Here are some of Grumpy’s top picks.
‘Appalachian Spring’ and ‘Appalachian Joy.’ Large, white blooms. Fast growers. Disease resistant.
‘Cherokee Brave.’ Red blooms with white centers. Fast grower. Disease resistant.
‘Cherokee Chief.’ Red blooms, excellent performer, disease resistant.
‘Cloud 9.’ Showy white flowers. Blooms very young.
‘Pluribracteata.’ Double white blooms. Disease resistant.
‘Weaver’s White.’ Large, white blooms. Disease resistant.
Images from Auburn University. Click for larger view.