How to Grow Dogwood Trees from Seed

How to Grow Dogwood Trees from Seed
Gracie Owens
Gracie Owens she/her - Author at YardPrep October 01, 2023

Dogwood trees are known for their beautiful flowers and unique bark, making them a popular choice for landscaping. While many people choose to purchase established dogwood trees from nurseries, it is also possible to grow them from seed. In this article, we will explore the process of growing dogwood trees from seed and provide tips for success.

How to Grow Dogwood Trees from Seed

To grow dogwood trees from seed, collect ripe berries, remove the pulp, and soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. Plant the seeds in a container with well-draining soil, keep it moist, and place it in a cool, shaded area. After germination, move the container to a sunny location and transplant the seedlings to a larger container or outside in the spring.

Choosing the Right Dogwood Seeds

Understanding the Different Types of Dogwood Seeds

There are several different types of dogwood trees, each with their own unique characteristics. Red dogwood seeds will produce trees with vibrant red flowers, while pink dogwood seeds will produce trees with soft pink flowers. White dogwood seeds will produce trees with classic white flowers. Consider which type of dogwood tree will best suit your landscape before selecting your seeds.

Where to Find Dogwood Seeds

Dogwood seeds can be purchased from nurseries or online retailers. They can also be collected from mature dogwood trees in the fall when the fruits are ripe. If collecting seeds from a tree, be sure to select healthy fruits and remove the seeds from the pulp before planting.

Preparing Dogwood Seeds for Planting


Stratification is the process of exposing seeds to cold temperatures to simulate winter conditions. This is necessary for dogwood seeds to germinate. To stratify dogwood seeds, place them in a plastic bag with moist peat moss and refrigerate for 90-120 days.

Cleaning and Drying

Before planting, it is important to clean and dry dogwood seeds to remove any debris or moisture that could lead to mold or rot. Rinse the seeds in water and then spread them out to dry on a paper towel for several days.

Planting Dogwood Seeds

Choosing the Right Soil

Dogwood seeds prefer well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Choose a location with partial shade and avoid areas with heavy foot traffic or standing water.

Planting Depth and Spacing

Plant dogwood seeds 1/4 inch deep in the soil and space them 6-8 inches apart. Cover the seeds with soil and gently pat down to ensure good soil-to-seed contact.

Watering and Fertilizing

Water dogwood seeds regularly to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season to promote healthy growth.

Caring for Dogwood Seedlings


Once the seedlings have grown to a height of 6-12 inches, they can be transplanted into larger containers or into the ground. Be sure to choose a location with well-draining soil and partial shade.


Prune dogwood seedlings in the late winter or early spring to remove any dead or damaged branches and promote healthy growth. Avoid pruning during the summer months when the tree is actively growing.

Pest and Disease Control

Common pests that affect dogwood trees include scale insects and borers. To prevent infestations, keep the tree healthy and avoid damaging the bark. If pests are present, treat with an insecticide according to the manufacturer's instructions. Dogwood trees are also susceptible to diseases such as powdery mildew and anthracnose. To prevent these diseases, ensure good air circulation around the tree and avoid overhead watering.


Growing dogwood trees from seed can be a rewarding experience for gardeners of all skill levels. By selecting the right seeds, preparing them properly, and providing the right growing conditions, you can enjoy the beauty of these trees in your own backyard. Give it a try and see what you can grow!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are dogwood trees easy to grow from seed?

Yes, dogwood trees can be grown from seed, but it requires patience and specific conditions for successful germination.

How do you stratify dogwood seeds?

To stratify dogwood seeds, place them in a moist paper towel or peat moss in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 90 to 120 days before planting.

How do you get a start from a dogwood tree?

To get a start from a dogwood tree, take a softwood cutting in early summer, dip it in rooting hormone, and plant it in a pot filled with a well-draining soil mix. Keep the cutting moist until roots develop.

How many years does it take for a dogwood tree to grow?

It typically takes about 3 to 5 years for a dogwood tree to reach a size suitable for transplanting, but it can take up to 10 years for the tree to fully mature.

What is the best time to plant dogwood seeds?

The best time to plant dogwood seeds is in the fall, as they require a period of cold stratification for successful germination.

Do dogwood trees require a lot of sunlight?

Dogwood trees prefer partial shade, although they can tolerate full sun in cooler climates. Too much direct sunlight can scorch their leaves.

Can dogwood trees grow in containers?

Yes, dogwood trees can be grown in containers, but they require a large pot with good drainage and regular watering to thrive.