Arctic Sun Dogwood

Cornus sanguinea 'Cato'

Family: Dogwood

Type: Shrub

Other Common Name: Bloodtwig Dogwood

Arctic Sun Dogwood is a striking ornamental shrub known for its vibrant winter colors. Its branches transition from yellow at the base to a fiery orange-red at the tips, creating a stunning contrast against winter landscapes. This plant is a compact variety of the traditional red twig dogwood, making it suitable for smaller gardens.

It’s a hardy shrub, thriving in zones 3 through 7, and adapts to a variety of soil types. Arctic Sun Dogwood is especially valuable for its tolerance to wet conditions, making it ideal for areas with moist soil. Its versatility and resilience make it a popular choice among gardeners and landscapers.

The plant blooms in late spring, producing white flowers that give way to blue-white berries. The foliage turns a beautiful shade of yellow in the fall, adding seasonal interest. Arctic Sun Dogwood’s year-round appeal makes it a dynamic addition to any garden.

Needs & Preferences

Hardiness Zone: 4a-5a

Pet Friendly: Yes

Moisture Preference: Average to moist

Sun Needs: Full sun to partial shade


Growth Rate: Medium

Average Height (feet): 4

Average Spread (feet): 4

Average Life Span (years): 20

Form: Round


Flower Color: Yellow

Bloom Season: In late spring

Foliage Color: Green

Leaf Fall Color: Yellow

Foliage Shape: Oval

Bark Color: Red

Landscaping Your Yard With Arctic Sun Dogwood

Arctic Sun Dogwood can be used as a focal point in your garden. Its bright winter stems stand out against snow or evergreens, providing a pop of color in the colder months. Plant it where it can be easily seen from indoors for a cheerful winter view.

Grouping several Arctic Sun Dogwoods together creates an impactful display. This technique intensifies the color effect and adds density to the landscape. It’s perfect for creating borders or as a backdrop in mixed shrub borders.

This shrub is also ideal for naturalistic and wildlife gardens. Its berries attract birds, and the dense foliage provides shelter. Planting Arctic Sun Dogwood near water features like ponds or streams can enhance the natural aesthetic.


Suitable Garden Styles

Contemporary Garden

Arctic Sun Dogwood fits well in contemporary garden designs with its striking colors and clean lines. Use it as a structural element in minimalist landscapes, where its bright stems can be a focal point against neutral backgrounds.

Woodland Garden

In woodland garden settings, Arctic Sun Dogwood adds color and texture. Its natural growth habit complements the woodland aesthetic, and its tolerance for shade makes it a versatile choice for dappled light areas.

Rain Garden

Arctic Sun Dogwood is perfect for rain gardens. Its love for moist conditions and ability to stabilize soil makes it ideal for areas that receive runoff. The vibrant stem color adds beauty to functional rain garden designs.

Arctic Sun Dogwood Landscaping Ideas

Create a winter wonderland by pairing Arctic Sun Dogwood with evergreens. The contrast of red and green is classic and eye-catching. This combination ensures your garden remains colorful and lively even in the depths of winter.

Incorporate Arctic Sun Dogwood into perennial beds. It adds structure to the bed and provides a colorful backdrop for perennial flowers. Its seasonal changes in color bring dynamism to the planting scheme.

Use Arctic Sun Dogwood for erosion control on slopes. Its strong root system helps stabilize soil, and its adaptability to various conditions makes it a practical choice. Plus, the colorful stems add aesthetic appeal to typically hard-to-landscape areas.

Seasonal Interest


In spring, Arctic Sun Dogwood's foliage emerges fresh and green, complementing its white flowers. The plant starts to show new growth, setting the stage for its summer appearance.


During summer, Arctic Sun Dogwood has lush green foliage and is adorned with blue-white berries. This season showcases the plant's more subtle side, offering a cooling presence in the landscape.


In the fall, Arctic Sun Dogwood's leaves turn a bright yellow, adding a warm hue to the garden. As the leaves fall, the vividly colored stems begin to stand out, heralding the coming winter display.


Winter reveals the full glory of Arctic Sun Dogwood. Its fiery red and yellow stems are prominent against the stark landscape, providing a striking visual interest during the coldest months.

Planting Tips

Where to Plant

Arctic Sun Dogwood should be planted in an area with adequate space to accommodate its growth. It thrives near water bodies like streams or ponds and in moist, well-draining areas of your garden. Avoid overly dry locations to ensure the best growth and color.


This shrub prefers full sun to partial shade. In full sun, the stems develop their brightest colors, but in hotter climates, some afternoon shade is beneficial. Partial shade is acceptable but may result in less vibrant stem color.


Arctic Sun Dogwood is adaptable to a variety of soil types but prefers moist, well-drained soils. It can tolerate wet conditions better than many other shrubs. Ensure the soil is rich in organic matter to support healthy growth.


Space plants approximately 3 to 5 feet apart. This spacing allows for natural growth and air circulation, preventing overcrowding and promoting healthier plants. Consider the mature size of the shrub when spacing.

When to Plant

Plant in early spring or fall. Planting during these cooler seasons allows the roots to establish before extreme weather conditions of summer or winter, leading to stronger, more resilient growth.

How to Plant

Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and twice as wide. Place the plant in the hole, fill with soil, and water thoroughly. Mulch around the base to retain moisture and regulate soil temperature.

Plant Care Tips


Regular watering is crucial, especially in the first growing season. Arctic Sun Dogwood prefers moist soil, so ensure consistent watering, more so in dry conditions. Once established, it can tolerate some drought.


Fertilize in early spring with a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer. Avoid over-fertilizing, which can diminish the stem color and cause excessive leaf growth.


Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth starts. Remove about a third of the oldest stems to encourage new growth, which will have the brightest color.

By Season


Spring Care

In spring, prune old stems, apply fertilizer, and mulch. This prepares the plant for new growth and helps maintain vibrant stem color for the next winter.

Summer Care

During summer, keep the soil consistently moist. Monitor for pests or diseases, especially in humid conditions. This is also the time to enjoy the berries and lush foliage.

Fall Care

In fall, reduce watering as the plant prepares for dormancy. Clean up any fallen leaves to prevent fungal diseases and apply a light layer of fresh mulch for winter protection.

Winter Care

No specific care is needed in winter. Arctic Sun Dogwood is dormant during this time, but its colorful stems continue to provide visual interest in the landscape.


How Fast Does Arctic Sun Dogwood Grow?

Arctic Sun Dogwood is a fast-growing shrub, typically growing several feet per year. Its rapid growth makes it ideal for quickly filling in spaces in the landscape.

Can Arctic Sun Dogwood Be Grown in Containers?

Yes, Arctic Sun Dogwood can be grown in containers, provided the pot is large enough to accommodate its root system. Ensure good drainage and regular watering.

Is Arctic Sun Dogwood Deer Resistant?

While no plant is completely deer-proof, Arctic Sun Dogwood is considered relatively deer-resistant. Its stems and foliage are not favored by deer, making it a safer choice in areas with deer pressure.

Products That Feature This Plant

Shades of Evergreen

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