Types of red twig dogwood: 11 eye-catching varieties for your plot

Our favorite types of red twig dogwood will introduce bold color and striking shapes to your plot

types of red twig dogwood include Cornus alba 'Sibirica’
(Image credit: Tim Gainey/Alamy Stock Photo)

There are lots of different types of red twig dogwood to choose from, and once you have added one to your garden you'll be wondering why you didn't do it before. 

Simply put, they are a one-stop shop for year-round color, with abundant plain or variegated foliage and sweet white flowers in summer that give way to vivid red, yellow or orange stems in winter.

Such is the contrasting beauty and interest that red twig dogwood can bring to your garden throughout the year, each purchase is basically like buying two plants for the price of one. 

Types of red twig dogwood with variegated or golden foliage bring color to the garden in the summer, as well as having their attractive winter twigs. ‘Aurea’ and 'Hedgerows Gold' are excellent varieties to consider if this is what you are aiming to achieve.

11 types of red twig dogwood to add striking interest to your borders

There are many different types of red twig dogwood, with red stems, or orange or yellow stems. 

You might find them listed under Cornus alba, a species that grows wild in Russia and China, under Cornus sanguinea, that grows wild in Europe, or Cornus sericea, which is the American native.

1. 'Anny's Winter Orange'

Annys Winter Orange red twig dogwood

'Anny's Winter Orange' has stems that grade from yellow through to scarlet

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Strong growing and happier than others in less than ideal conditions in garden borders, instead of scarlet stems ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’ has stems in an astonishing color as they grade from yellow at the base, through orange to scarlet at the tips. 

The color becomes especially sparkling after the first frosts, making this a brilliant addition to your winter garden ideas. The leaves develop coral and yellow shades in fall. It will grow to around 3ft (90cm) when pruned annually. 

2. 'Arctic Fire Red' ('Farrow')

Arctic Fire Red red twig dogwood

'Arctic Fire Red' is a compact form of red twig dogwood

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A good choice for small gardens, 'Arctic Fire Red' or 'Farrow' is an exceptionally neat variety that matures at a smaller size than most. 

The length of stems between the leaves is shorter, the leaves are smaller, and it branches more freely from the base of the plant giving a mass of colorful stems. 

A noticeably compact variety, developed in Maryland, its bright red stems lighting up the winter garden. It grows to 3-4ft (90cm-1.2m) when not pruned. This variety is not available in the UK.

3. 'Arctic Fire Yellow'

Arctic Fire yellow twig dogwood

'Arctic Fire Yellow' red twig dogwood is a compact form of the shrub

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'Arctic Fire Yellow' is, essentially, a more compact form of the old favorite ‘Flaviramea’, and with even more vivid yellow stems whose sunny coloring shines across the yard on bright winter’s days. 

It comes with white flowers, and yellow tinted white and grows to 3ft (90cm) when pruned annually. This variety is not available in the UK.

4. ‘Flaviramea'

Flaviramea red twig dogwood

'Flaviramea' red twig dogwood has been a popular variety for more than a century

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Popular for more than 120 years, the winter twigs are yellow, sometimes grading into olive tones. 

It looks delightful interplanted with other types of red twig dogwood with different stem colors, but is especially demanding of consistently damp conditions to ensure good growth. 

Carrying white flowers, and white berries, it grows to 4ft (1.2m) when pruned annually. 

5. ‘Magic Flame'

Magic Flame red twig dogwood

The brilliantly fiery stems of 'Magic Flame' red twig dogwood

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The stems of this type of red twig dogwood are unusually fiery in tone, yellow at the base and orange-scarlet at the tips with the fall foliage matching the stems for flame colors. 

It will make a dramatic addition to your winter landscaping when pruned every year, rather than allowed a year off in between. Clusters of white berries are followed by black berries and it reaches 3ft (90cm) when pruned annually.

6. ‘Sibirica’ (aka ‘Westonbirt’)

red stems of Sibirica red twig dogwood

‘Sibirica’ (aka ‘Westonbirt’) red twig dogwood has gaudy stems the colour of rhubarb

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An old favorite, first seen back in 1838 and still going strong, the stems are an unusually vivid crimson, making it a bold addition to any garden color scheme

White flowers are followed by clusters of berries that vary from blue-tinted white, to almost pale turquoise. 

More tolerant of dryish conditions than most types of red twig dogwood, it will grow to 3ft (90cm) when pruned annually. 

7. ‘Aurea’

Aurea red twig dogwood

'Aurea' has strong red stems followed in spring and summer by golden-yellow leaves

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The twigs are rich red in color and the leaves, instead of the usual green, are a powerful yellow and look well with the red stems. 

In fall the leaf colour intensifies. Creamy white flowers are followed by white berries and 'Aurea' will grow to 3ft (90cm) when pruned annually. 

8. 'Hedgerows Gold'

Hedgerow Gold red twig dogwood

The attractive gold-edged leaves of 'Hedgerows Gold' red twig dogwood

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Dark red, almost burgundy red, stems are an unusually rich shade and the leaves, when they open in spring, are edged in yellow. 

As the season progresses that marginal colouring changes to creamy white. White flowers are followed by white berries. With annual pruning, 'Hedgeows Gold' reaches the usual 3ft (90cm) .

9. 'Sibirica Variegata'

Flowers and foliage of Sibirica variegata red twig dogwood

The eye-catching flowers and foliage of 'Sibirica variegata' red  twig dogwood

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This is the variegated form of the ‘Sibirica’, the best known type of red twig dogwood. 

It has the same sparkling red stems, but the foliage is edged in white, with pink tints, and then develops wine red shades in fall. 

White berries, tinged with blue, follow the white flowers and the shrub reaches 3ft (90cm) when pruned annually.

10. 'Spaethii'

Spaethii red twig dogwood

The leaves of 'Spaethii' red twig dogwood are shades of peppermint green

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Another variegated form, with its green foliage edged in soft gold, the rich yellow coloring is brighter than many variegated varieties. 

The foliage makes a beautiful combination with the red stems and, in fall, develops a delightful tapestry of shades. Annual pruning will keep it at a height of 3ft (90cm) when pruned annually. 

11. ‘Sunshine’

Sunshine red twig dogwood with yellow leaves and white flowers

'Sunshine' red twig dogwood gives visual 'wow factor' with its yellow leaves and white flowers

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More vigorous than many coloured-leaf varieties, so it's ideal if you need a striking specimen shrub for small gardens

The stems are vivid red and look well with the foliage which is usually yellow, but is sometimes green with a jagged yellow edge. Stems grow to 4ft (1.2m) when pruned annually. 

Where to buy different types of red twig dogwood

Most types of red twig dogwood are mainly sold growing in containers, either in garden centers, nurseries, or in the garden departments of big box stores although the widest range is available by mail order. Use our quick links to find the right one for your plot. 

Where to buy red twig dogwood in the US:

Where to buy red twig dogwood in the UK:

Graham Rice is a garden writer who has won awards for his work online, and in books and magazines, on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been the Gardening Correspondent of two national newspapers in Britain, published more than 20 books, and has written for Organic Gardening magazine, The American Gardener, Fine Gardening and Amateur Gardening. He is the recipient of the 2021 Garden Media Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. For many years he was a judge at the Chelsea Flower Show and is a member of a number of Royal Horticultural Society committees. He gardened in Pennsylvania for 20 years, but has recently returned to his native England.