The Cornus Alternifolia (Pagoda Dogwood) Full Care Guide

The Pagoda Dogwood, otherwise known as the Cornus Alternifolia or Bloodtwig Dogwood ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’, European Dogwood ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’, Dogwood ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’, is a rather well known shrub plant by gardening enthusiasts around the world.

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

Fortunately, taking care of your Pagoda Dogwood is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Pagoda Dogwood Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

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

  • Water: The Pagoda Dogwood thrives in well-drained soil.
  • Light: Keep your Cornus Alternifolia in an environment where it can receive partial shade to partial sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Pagoda Dogwood in soil with moist but well-draining to well draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

And that’s practically it! If you keep these three factors in check, your Pagoda Dogwood will likely have all it needs for it to survive and even thrive.

Pagoda Dogwood care

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Pagoda Dogwood belongs to the Cornaceae family, the genus Cornus and the species Sanguinea, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Cornus Alternifolia.

As with other Cornus’s, the Pagoda Dogwood is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

The Pagoda Dogwood is a plant native to the Europe.

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Pagoda Dogwood. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

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

Growth and Size


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


But, what size of Pagoda Dogwood are we talking about? What can you expect in terms of height, spread and spacing? Let’s dig in…

The Cornus Alternifolia can grow up to 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) in 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) and 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm) in 3′ – 4′ (90cm – 120cm). 

These dimensions make the Pagoda Dogwood a relatively large shrub 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 48″ (120cm) free so the Pagoda Dogwood can spread to its best extent.


In terms of watering, the Pagoda Dogwood is a fairly complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat irregular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Cornus Alternifolia thrives in well-drained soil.

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

Pagoda Dogwood flowers


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

But, if you want a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to watering your Pagoda Dogwood then you should consider the famous ‘finger’ test. To perform this test, you just need to put your finger in your plant’s soil and determine if it’s moist or not. If it is, then don’t water; if it isn’t, then please do. In any case, this test will allow you to know if your Pagoda Dogwood needs or does not need water, every time.

Soil Mix

The Pagoda Dogwood’s ideal soil potting mix is made out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

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

Light and Exposure

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

Most experts agree that this shrub 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 Alternifolia in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day).


Being a deciduous plant, the Pagoda Dogwood will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

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


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

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

The Pagoda Dogwood produces some beautiful white, or gold/yellow, cream/tan and white flowers around this time of year.


The leaves from the Pagoda Dogwood have a beautiful dark green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with a opposite organization in its leaves.

Pagoda Dogwood and bees

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Pagoda Dogwood 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 deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Cornus Alternifolia will be fine.


Now, let’s talk garden and how your Pagoda Dogwood will look best in it.

Most Cornus Alternifolia owners agree that this shrub will look great in most cottage, asian/zen and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they complement well most gardens of coastal garden, prairie and meadow, city and courtyard, informal and cottage, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Pagoda Dogwood’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in hedges and screens, others use it for landscaping in a mass planting, border, wildlife garden, hillside, specimen, or a woodland garden.

Companion Plants

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

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


And we’ve come to an end. Fortunately, that’s everything you need to know about your Pagoda Dogwood to keep it safe and sound in your garden or home. Enjoy planting!

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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