Signs of Spring: Viburnum and Dogwood

Updated: Apr. 24, 2020

Blooming trees and shrubs like native viburnum and dogwood are one of the great pleasures of spring.

Enjoy the sight of flowering branches against a blue spring sky with viburnum and dogwood. Virburnum is a large shrub that can be pruned into a multi-trunk tree form if desired while dogwood is a small ornamental tree. Both offer multitudes of berries for birds to enjoy when fall arrives. What more can you ask for?

Signs of Spring Viburnum
Walter’s Viburnum


Viburnum has over 150 species and is native to multiple continents, but you’ll do best to work with those species that are native to your area. Walter’s Viburnum (Viburnum obvatum) is native to the Southeast U.S., and is ideal in zones 7 – 10. For those in zones 2 – 7, try American Cranberrybush (Viburnum trilobum syn. Viburnum opulus var. americanum), which is not related to cranberry but is so named for the brilliant red berries that form in the fall. These large shrubs can be kept in check by pruning if necessary, and make an attractive hedge. The tiny white flower clusters that cover viburnum in spring are a draw for bees and early butterflies.

Signs of Spring Viburnum
Walter’s Viburnum

Dogwood (Cornus spp)

Dogwood is another genus with multiple species around the globe. Possible the most famous and cultivated is Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), native to Eastern North America and grown in zones 5 – 9. Pacific Dogwood (C. nuttallii) is native to the western parts of the country, where it’s generally grown in zones 6 – 7. Flowering Dogwood is a fairly small ornamental tree, growing to about 30 feet, while Pacific Dogwood can grow much taller, to more than 60 feet. Both flower profusely in the spring with lovely white flowers. Birds are drawn to the berries in the fall.

Signs of Spring DogwoodKathy (Birdy17)
Kathy (Birdy17) Flowering Dogwood

Looking for more flowering shrubs? Click here to see Birds & Blooms’ Top 10 list!