Red twig dogwood (Cornus sericea), also known as red osier dogwood, is a plant that can offer year-round appeal because it produces lots of dark green foliage during its growing season with occasional clusters of tiny white flowers during early spring and summer.
In fall, this plant will shed its leaves to reveal fiery red stems that can add lots of color to your winter landscape. It’s a great plant to grow during the winter months in colder regions – and the best part is there are plenty of red twig dogwood companion plants.
Red dogwood can be a real showstopper when it is paired with the right type of companion plants.
In this guide, we are going to take a look at some of the best companion plants for your red twig dogwood landscape design.
A Quick Guide to Red Twig Dogwood Shrubs
When you are choosing companion plants for your red osier dogwood, you should always choose plants that grow well in the same soil types and under the same growing conditions as these shrubs.
It is also good to choose plant varieties that will somehow enhance the natural look of these bushes with their vivid red branches.
Where Do Red Twig Dogwood Grow?
Red dogwoods grow well in hardiness zones 2 – 9 which means they are quite flexible in terms of soil type but they do require nutrient-rich soil. They will grow well in well-draining soils, but once established, they can even survive in waterlogged or soggy soil.
These plants prefer full sun but can also grow well in partial sunlight and they are quite drought-tolerant.
It is a very easy plant to establish and grow and this brush will require little maintenance since you only need to trim it occasionally and offer nutrients like fertilizers once a year.
Best Red Twig Dogwood Companion Plants
Without further ado, here’s a guide to the best red twig dogwood companion plants!
Yellow Twig Dogwood
Yellow twig dogwood (Cornus sericea or Flaviramea), also known as golden twig dogwood, is one of the most interesting companions to grow alongside, or in front of red twig dogwood trees.
This deciduous shrub is a cultivar of red dogwood and has very similar traits. Yellow dogwood does however have bright golden stems when the brush’s leaves start to fall off in the colder season. When this happens, the vivid yellow and brilliant red stems will create lots of contrast and can add lots of winter color to your garden.
In summer, golden dogwood has green stems with lush green foliage and they produce white flowers. They will also attract lots of butterflies and other pollinators to your garden and can even lure beautiful bird species who love to feed on the fruits these bushes produce.
You can grow golden dogwood in the same garden bed alongside your red osier dogwood because they have the same growing requirements and can also grow well in wet soil and partial shade.
Hydrangeas (Hydrangea) are a good option if you are looking for a flowering plant that can be established alongside or in front of red twig dogwoods.
These beautiful flowering bushes are great for attracting hummingbirds and those purple blooms attract butterflies that can give your garden lots of charm from early spring and during summer.
Hydrangeas grow very well in loam soil that drains well but they can die if they are left in moist soil or clay soil that doesn’t drain well.
These hydrangea growing conditions are something to keep in mind when pairing them with water-loving dogwood plants. These brushes also prefer morning sun or dappled shade and can wilt and die if they get too much full sun.
It is usually best to grow your hydrangeas in front of red twig dogwood plants because they only reach a height of about 3 feet tall (1 meter), while redosier dogwood can grow up to 20 feet tall (6 meters).
This combination of plants can look very charming in summer when both bushes are in full bloom and the red twigs of the dogwoods will keep adding some winter color when the hydrangeas shed their leaves.
Red Oak Trees
If you are looking for something to grow behind your redosier dogwood bushes then you can consider red oak trees (Quercus rubra), also known as the northern red oak.
In the summertime, these fast-growing deciduous trees can offer lots of shade and in fall, the leaves will turn vivid red which can look fantastic behind the reddening twigs of your red twig bushes.
These trees can be grown in loam or sand soils and they do prefer full sun but can also grow well in partial sun.
It is best to establish these red twig dogwood companion plants behind your dogwoods because the trees can grow very tall with a maximum height of up to 75 feet (22 meters).
Alternatively, you can also establish the red twig dogwoods around the base of the oak tree to conceal the base or create a little bit more interest beneath the tree.
Maple tree species (Acer) are also good companion plants for red twig dogwood and for those who want to create an explosion of color during fall and winter time. The leaves of most maple tree varieties like red maple trees, Japanese maples, and sugar maple transform into reddish brown or red foliage during fall.
Japanese maples sometimes produce reddish-purple leaves. These vivid colors, along with the deep red stems of American dogwood can make your garden look vivid and bright when the season starts to change.
Red maple trees can grow very tall. Even shorter or smaller maple varieties like Japanese maples can grow up to 30 feet tall (9 meters).
Because of their height, it is usually best to position these bright red plants at the back or to position your bloodtwig dogwood plants around them. The redstem dogwood growths will do a great job preventing soil erosion around your tall trees and can help create a solid backdrop on your property.
These trees grow well in full or partial sunlight and are adaptable to moist soils which makes them ideal companions for red twig dogwoods.
Bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) is another interesting plant to pair in your garden with red osier dogwood. Mature bald cypress trees shed their leaves during early winter. These leaves will turn bright red, orange, or brown before they start to fall. This can create glorious displays of red and orange and can make your property look very interesting if you have lots of red twig dogwoods growing in the same yard.
In summer, bald cypress trees will also look glorious with their tall pyramidical design. The foliage turns vivid green during summer and can look charming behind the denser foliage that dogwoods produce during spring and summer time.
These deciduous trees can grow very tall with a height of up to 70 feet tall (21 meters) and they grow well in most soil types. They can handle lots of sun and can grow well in partial sun.
Next on the list of red twig dogwood companion plants are winterberry hollies, which are drought tolerant and do well in moist soils, making them ideal for growing alongside red twig dogwoods.
These beautiful shrubs also produce bright red berries in the winter months, providing food and shelter for local wildlife. They can also take center stage and offer some of the brightest color, even during the winter months – making them good companion shrubs for your red twig dogwood shrubs.
Another great option on the list of red twig dogwood companion plants is maiden grass, which adds height and a different texture to the landscape. This ornamental grass does well in partial shade and well-draining soils, making it a good companion for the growing requirements of red twig dogwoods.
If you’re in colder regions within USDA zones, consider adding highbush blueberries to the mix as you’re considering red twig dogwood companion plants.
These shrubs do well in boggy spots and with well-drained soils, and like the winterberry hollies, offer food for local wildlife. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy some delicious fruit during the summer months!
Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus stolonifera)
Last but not least on our list of red twig dogwood companion plants is the red osier dogwood (Cornus stolonifera), which is actually a close relative of the red twig dogwood. This shrub has similar growing conditions and growing requirements, making it a natural companion plant. However, the red osier dogwood offers a wider range of colors, with stems that can be bright red, yellow, or even green.
Which of These Red Twig Dogwood Companion Plants Will You Go?
Yellow twig dogwood, hydrangeas, red oak trees, maple trees, and bald cypress are some of the best companion plants for red twig dogwood to consider if you want to add lots of color to your garden. We hope that this guide made it a little bit easier for you to find suitable neighboring plants for your red twig dogwoods.
And if you are looking for more information on great plants to pair in your garden then you should have a look at some of our other guides. With our site, you can find all the best plants and companion concepts to help your garden flourish.
*image by Sonyachny/depositphotos