Bunchberry: Wonderful Blooming Understory Groundcover
Cornus canadensis, commonly called Dogwood Plant, Creeping Dogwood, or Bunchberry is a perennial, woodland ground cover topped by a whorl of oval, pointed leaves. Above the leaves rises a dogwood blossom. Bunchberry is easily identified by the whorl of leaves and the cluster of tiny greenish flowers that are surrounded by 4 ovate white or pinkish bracts. A cluster of bright red berries will follow the blooms. The leaves, which are dark-green and shiny in summer, become a beautiful wine-red in fall. The plant spreads by underground stems so over time it forms a glossy mat, a perfect carpet for the shaded garden, or under trees when the conditions are right.
Blooms will arrive in late spring and early summer; they are then followed in late summer by bright scarlet berries. During the fall the leaves turn crimson and deep red. The berries are an ideal food source for birds.
The growing range for this plant is throughout Canada and the northern half of the United States. On the west coast it is native to Washington and Oregon in low to high-elevation forests.
How To Make Your Bunchberry Thrive
It grows best in cool, moist, acidic soils, in full to partial shade. It’s shallow roots cannot withstand summer heat and dry soil with temperatures above sixty-five degrees. Follow a regular watering schedule during the first growing season to establish a deep, extensive root system. When you are planting space plants 2 to 3 feet apart, (closer for faster coverage). You will need to control weeds with mulch until the plants cover the area.
General Bunchberry Information
Pests And Disease
Bunchberry can be propagated by cuttings. Take cuttings below the ground level in mid July through August.
Prune or cut back during the spring time frame.
This is a perfect native to fill out landscaping under evergreen and deciduous trees. Bunchberry works as an excellent edging along sidewalks and flagstone paths. It is also an ideal choice for wild gardens and habitat, as well as easing transition from the cultivated landscape to natural open spaces.
- Family: Cornaceae
- Plant Type: Deciduous/evergreen
- Hardiness Zone: Zones 2 to 8
- Bloom Season: Late spring to early summer
- Growth Habit: Prostrate
- Plant Height: 3 inches to 8 inches
- Plant Spread: 2 to 3 feet
- Bloom Size: 1 to 2 inches
- Bloom Color: White
- Foliage Color: Dark Green
- Light Requirements: Part shade, shade
- Soil Tolerance: Normal, loamy
- Water Needs: Wet or constantly moist soil
- Growth Rate: Moderate
- Special Features: Attracts birds, fall color, showy fruit
Google – Bunchberry Photos
Flickr – Bunchberry Photos