A Chinese Dogwood tree, botanical name Cornus kousa, that fails to bloom or make flowers of any kind is a very common problem. People ask me all the time; “Why doesn’t it bloom, and what can I do to make it bloom?”
By the way, I’m Looking for a Few People that would Like to Grow and Sell Small Plants from Home. Take a Peek.
If you have a Chinese dogwood that has yet to bloom, even after several years in your yard, there’s really not much you can do to make it bloom other than wait it out.
The short answer is; “It’s the nature of the beast.” They often take anywhere from five to seven years to make flowers. Sometimes as long as ten years!
There are varieties that bloom much sooner, but if you don’t happen to have one of those varieties, I can assure you your tree will bloom and more than likely it will bloom beautifully. But only when it’s ready.
Here’s the problem, this is where the plan went wrong.
Chinese Dogwood, Cornus kousa, are fairly easy to grow from seed and hundreds of thousands of them are grown from seed annually.
A Chinese Dogwood grown from seed is the most generic form of Cornus Kousa in the plant kingdom, and they are the ones that take many years before they make flowers.
‘Milky Way’ is a Chinese Dogwood variety that is an early bloomer.
Milky Way Chinese Dogwood is famous for its ability to bloom when very young.
But most seedlings are not Milky Way, or worse yet they might have been grown from seed collected from a Milky Way Chinese Dogwood, but only some of those seedlings carry that true Milky Way gene that makes them bloom early and bloom prolifically.
As the seedlings grow out they are observed and the really good ones are sold as Milky Way Seedlings. The others are just grown out and sold as regular Cornus Kousa.
So if your Chinese Dogwood doesn’t want to bloom, it’s safe to assume that your tree is not a Milky Way. Like I said, yours will still bloom, but you have to be patient and let it do its thing.
To Learn More about Milky Way Chinese Dogwood and See Beautiful Photos, check out this post.
Mike. You sell milky way dog wood seeds?
I do not but some members do. http://backyardgrowers.com/join
Ruth Summersides says
Love your advice, donkey and humor.
I can not find clear advice on how to propagate a Giant Fleece flower, mine is very large and I would like to get a couple of roots etc, but don’t want to kill my plant. It is 7ft high and 6ft wide in Zone 2b in Canada.
Thanks for any info.
Ruth, see this; https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2015/01/easy-summertime-plant-propagation-techniques-can-home/
Pamela Black says
I’m a new subscriber in Zone 7 and enjoyed your good advice on Japanese Maples. I bought one for $69.95 at Home Depot about 30 years ago & it’s now over 10 ft. tall and has a BEAUTIFUL canopy. One thing I would add – make sure the tree has good ventilation thru the lower branches. We had an arborist look at ours when the lower branches seemed to be decaying and that’s what he recommended. Cured the problem immediately.
Great advice, thanks for sharing Pamela.
Carol Gaglione says
Hi Mike, My name is Carol and I live in the Buffalo, NY area. Two years ago I bought a Cornus Kousa tree from a reputable nursery here. The first year it didn’t bloom. Last year it bloomed profusely. I wait all year to see this tree bloom. This year, at this time (6/14/2016) it only has a few blooms on it. We have had much cooler nights and days lately (40 to 50 degrees). Could that have an effect on the blooming? Is there a chance the tree may still bloom out? I have watched a beautiful, mature Kousa tree near my home and it is blooming very little too. I love this tree.
I say give it more time, I’ve seen them bloom in July.
Pamela Black says
First of all, the Kousa is not recommended for your planting zone. The winters are too cold and the springs too short. Second, the tree may not be getting enough sun. It you give your Kousa about 3 hours of direct sun you’ll find it blooms well.
I live in the Finger Lakes region of central NY, about 150 miles east of Buffalo, and have seen some GORGEOUS Cornus kousa in my area, and this year they were all blooming way late, as was everything else. I think the weather has EVERYTHING to do with the date and amount of flowering!
BTW, there are people in southern PA who think they’re too far north to grow pawpaws, but I dug a bunch of root suckers from a pawpaw tree about 8 miles south of me and have them in my greenhouse being misted frequently until they grows some roots. Pawpaws grow as far north as southern Ontario and Quebec, Canada! The point is, don’t take it for gospel when people try to tell you your plant is “out of its range.” Your microclimate may let you grow things nobody else in your area ever has. I grew extra-early sweet corn at 8,890 feet on the north side of a mountain in Colorado and had the first sweet corn to ever mature up there – my in-laws were quite impressed. They’d been trying to grow the old 90-day Golden Bantam and couldn’t figure why it never matured – we were supposed to have just 56 frost-free days! Be brave – try anything!
I agree, there are industry norms but you never know for sure what might work.
I understand and I appreciate having you as a subscriber. If you can’t garden, at least you can enjoy watching others do it happily. You take care and stay tuned! Mike
clyde w holmes says
SAT .EVE AND HERE I SIT AT THIS COMPUTER WHEN IF I WAS ABLE TO I WOULD LOCE TO BE OUT TENDING TO SOME SMALL PLANTS BUT HEALTY WILL NOT ALLOW IT, ENJOYING YOUR MAiL,
MIKE I REALLY ENJOY YOUR INFO I GET OFF YOUR MAIL IF I WAS JUST ABLE TO GET OUT AN GET AROUND I AM HAVING TO GET
AROUND, I HAVE FALLE4N TWICE ONCE INTO A ROS4E BUSH THAT
THING LIKE TO EAT ME UP ,ILOOKED LOOKED LIKE I HAD BEEN IN A SCRAP WITH A WILDCAT BLOODY AN BLEEDING AS I AM ON
A MEDI TO PREVENT BLOOD CLOTS, WANT GO ANY FUTHER WILL
CLOSE OUT. I ENJOY THE INFO OUT OF OF YOUR MAIL.
Diane Murnion says
I am very interested in subscribing but most of the plants you feature will not live well in zone 4 where we live. Just wondering if you feature more cold hardy plants in your other publications.
Many of the plants that I feature will grow in zone 4, but zone 4 is challenging. But the information that I share is good in any zone, anywhere in the world.