Q: I am able to get a Florida dogwood and I wanted to be sure it would grow here. I have filtered light and a slightly moist soil condition.
A: The Florida Dogwood, Cornus florida, would be a great choice since you are purchasing it from a local plant nursery. This means it was most likely grown here in Florida. Filtered light is perfect and the sandy soil is not a problem although h the soil should be well-drained. It is important to allow for enough room for this lovely tree as it can grow up to 35 feet tall and spread to almost 30 feet. When planting, remember not to amend the hole, which means – do not add heavy organic matter like Black Kow, fertilizer or other typical amendments. Slice into the root ball to get rid of circling roots, loosen the soil in the area where planting 2 – 3 times the size of the root ball. Fill the hole with surrounding soil 2/3 of the way, then fill with water, tamp down then fill in the rest of the hole with native soil. Do not plant this tree too deeply; the top roots should have only about 1-2 inches of soil on top. Build a berm around the root ball and mulch outside the berm with pine bark or pine straw. Watering is essential – so read the attached publication on irrigation to establish trees: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/EP/EP11300.pdf
Avoid pruning the canopy except for broken limbs, crossing or rubbing limbs and/or to give the tree better structure. The attached publication is more complete information about the dogwood tree.