ISSUE 12  |  Color Coded

Design Sleuth: Dogwood on Your Terrace

March 23, 2012 6:30 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

If offered a choice, a dogwood tree might not immediately jump at the chance to live in a pot on your terrace. Not even for the views from East 61st Street. But you can persuade it.

The challenge: Cornus florida rubra, a pink flowering dogwood, was not meant for a container. To convince it otherwise, start with a small tree—from three to four feet tall, say—and plant it in a pot that's at least three times as big around as its root ball. "In the beginning, it will need a lot of water," warns garden designer Marni Majorelle, who used one in a Manhattan terrace garden.

Above: A flowering dogwood keeps company with a smoke bush (L), drought-tolerant beach plums, and blueberry bushes. Image via Alive Structures.

Above: If left to its own devices, Cornus florida rubra will grow 30 to 40 feet high in the Appalachian forests where it thrives. You can also find dwarf versions at After Hours Nursery. Image via Missouri State.

Above: An April bloomer, Cornus florida rubra is available in several sizes from Willis Orchards; $22.95 for a 3- to 4-foot-tall plant. Should pink not be your thing, flowering dogwoods also come in white and red. Image via Willis Orchards.