The Cornus Canadensis (Bunchberry) Full Care Guide

The Bunchberry, otherwise known as the Cornus Canadensis or Bunchberry Dogwood, Canadian Bunchberry, Creeping Dogwood, Crackerberry, Dwarf Cornel, Pudding Berries, Pudding Berry, Chamaepericlymenum canadense, Cornella canadensis, Cornus canadensis var. dutillyi, is a well known perennial plant native to the Northeast, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest of the United States.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this perennial will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green-colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

This is why all the topics you need to know in order to achieve this will be covered in this Bunchberry Care Guide. Ready? Let’s go!

The basic care guidelines you need to remember for your Bunchberry are the following:

  • Water: The Bunchberry loves moist soil but will still survive dusty soil when it is established.
  • Light: Keep your Cornus Canadensis in an environment where it can receive partial shade to partial sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Bunchberry in soil with moist but well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of sand, loam, and clay.

That’s it – sunlight, water and soil! The basic 3 fundamentals for all plant care, and with the Bunchberry this is no exception. With these three elements, your leafy friend will live healthy and happy.

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Bunchberry belongs to the Cornaceae family, the genus Cornus and the species Canadensis, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Cornus Canadensis (KOR-nus kan-a-DEN-sis).

As with other Cornus’s, the Bunchberry is a herbaceous plant, which means it will die back to the ground every year. 

Growing Region

The Bunchberry is a plant native to East Russia to Japan and Subarctic America to N. & Central U.S. This is why the Cornus Canadensis is used to growing in specific regions such as the states in Northeast, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Pacific Northwest, and the Southwest of the United States.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend to always keep in mind your plants’ native region and environment, since these are the conditions that your Bunchberry is most accustomed to, thus where it can most favorably.

With this in mind, the Cornus Canadensis will be most used to the heat zones in the 1 – 7 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 2a, 2b, 3b, 3a, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6b, 6a and the ideal climate zone is between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, A1, A2, A3.

Growth and Size


In terms of size and growth, the Bunchberry is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.


But what exactly does this mean for your Bunchberry? How large a pot should you consider, how tall, how wide can it get? Let’s jump in…

The Cornus Canadensis can grow up to 4″ – 9″ (10cm – 22cm) in 4″ – 9″ (10cm – 22cm) and 6″ – 1′ (15cm – 30cm) in 6″ – 1′ (15cm – 30cm). 

These dimensions make the Bunchberry a relatively medium perennial compared to others, so it’s best to keep this fact in mind since it will affect where you want to keep yours at home.

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful spreading shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

This is why experts recommend keeping an area of approximately 12″ (30cm) free, so the Bunchberry can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Bunchberry is a fairly complicated plant to take care of. This is mainly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Cornus Canadensis loves moist soil but will still survive dusty soil when it is established.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Bunchberry in soil with moist but well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, and moist properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Bunchberry since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Bunchberry prefers to have soil with good drainage, and moist properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of sand, loam, and clay.

This is why most experts agree that the Bunchberry requires soil with high organic matter, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably neutral to acid soil.

Light and Placement

In terms of light and exposure, the Bunchberry requires partial shade to partial sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this perennial will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Cornus Canadensis in from little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to dappled or moderate shade (under other plant’s canopy).


Being a herbaceous plant, the Bunchberry will die back to the ground every year. 

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (late), the summer (early, mid, late), and during the fall.


You can expect your Bunchberry to flower around the spring and in the summer months from April to June (spring), and from July to September (summer).

In particular, this perennial is well known for its showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Bunchberry produces some beautiful green, or green and white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Bunchberry have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with an opposite organization in its leaves. You can expect the leaves from your Cornus Canadensis to be around (1-3 inches) in size.

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Bunchberry is well known for being able to attract butterflies and birds, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for animals like rabbit and deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Cornus Canadensis will be fine.


Does your Bunchberry have any garden recommendations? Does it serve any gardening purposes? Here’s how you can get the most out of your new plant.

Most Cornus Canadensis owners agree that this perennial will look great in most cottage and rustic gardens of all types

In particular, the Bunchberry’s best location within your garden is in ground covers; others use it for landscaping in a hillside, very wet areas, border, ground cover, rock garden, mass planting, edging, container, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

Bunchberry’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Betula, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Aronia will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!


So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Bunchberry in your garden or home.

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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