Attract More Birds With a Silky Dogwood Shrub

Updated: Jul. 11, 2022

Silky dogwood shrubs are native plants that boast benefits in every season. Here’s what you need to know before planting one.

Why Plant a Silky Dogwood Shrub

Cayenne silky dogwood's leaves look amazing in fall when they take on a red tone with green veining.Bailey Nurseries
Cayenne silky dogwood’s leaves look amazing in fall when they take on a red tone with green veining.

Like most dogwoods, silky dogwood looks fantastic in every season and birds love it.

The show starts in spring when the white flowers emerge. The blooms stay through part of the summer and dot the light green foliage. The oval leaves darken and the fruit starts to develop as summer ends.

The fall leaf colors are striking, but don’t last long. The real attraction is the berry-like drupes that birds love. Watch for them to swoop in, grab a drupe and fly off.

In winter, some cultivars offer bright red branches that stand out in snowy or drab gardens. Check out more winter interest plants to add color and beauty. to your yard

How to Grow Silky Dogwood

  • Cornus amomum
  • Common name: Silky dogwood
  • Zones 4 to 8
  • Light needs: Full sun to part shade
  • Size: 6 to 12 feet tall and wide

Silky dogwood is native to the eastern United States and works well in woodland and wetland gardens or areas where it can spread. It forms dense thickets without regular trimming and makes a fantastic hedge.

As a bonus, it can be planted in wet soil or near black walnut trees and deer tend to avoid it.

Plant these native trees that attract birds.

Attract Birds With This Native Shrub

Berry-eating birds like gray catbirds, rose-breasted grosbeaks and robins love this shrub.

Watch for white berry-like fruits to appear in the middle of summer. They ripen and turn blue in late summer. The fruit looks great on this large shrub but only last as long as it takes for backyard visitors to scoop them up.

Discover 7 backyard birds that eat berries.

Silky Dogwood Vs Flowering Dogwood

A branch of a silky dogwood shrub in spring with clusters of white flowers.Courtesy Vincent Drexler
A branch of a silky dogwood shrub in spring with clusters of white flowers.

Dogwood varieties, like silky and flowering dogwood, share many characteristics. It can be hard to tell them apart. Birds & Blooms reader Vincent Drexler of Canal Fulton, Ohio, asks, “This plant was labeled as a dogwood. What is it actually?”

Garden expert Melinda Myers writes, “The plant is a type of dogwood. But it’s not the flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) you may have expected. Your shrub is most likely silky dogwood (Cornus amomum), a suckering shrub that grows 6 to 10 feet tall, with small white flowers and purplish stems. Take a closer look at the growth habit, stems and leaves to confirm your plant’s identity. Compare these features to detailed descriptions on botanic garden or educational websites.”

Next, check out the top 10 summer flowering shrubs for full sun.