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How to Grow a Redbud Tree

I love the Eastern redbud tree. I saw some last spring and decided that I would like to plant 2 of them. Are they an easy tree to take care of? The blossoms are breathtaking in the spring. Elizabeth, PA (zone 6a)

The North American native
Eastern redbud (Cercis
canadensis
) is an
ornamental tree whose
clusters of purple blooms
are a favorite harbinger
of spring. At a mature
height of 30 feet with an
equally wide spread, this
little tree is perfect
for small spaces, mixed
borders or planted in
groupings in naturalized
gardens. Eastern redbud
is native to the eastern
half of the United States
and is cold hardy from
zone 5 to 9. So it is
widely adaptable and
should be well suited
to your Pennsylvania
garden.

Plant your trees in an
area that receives full
sun to partial shade.
The blooms are more
prolific in sunny areas,
but it does appreciate
some protection from
intense afternoon heat.

Redbuds will tolerate
most soil types, but
prefer moist,
well-drained locations.
Poor drainage is the
kiss of death. On the
flip side they will
survive short dry
periods, although you
should water regularly
during extended
droughts.

Whether your soil is
acidic, alkaline or
neutral doesn’t seem
to affect redbuds.
They should thrive
in any soil pH. To
encourage lots of
blooms feed the tree
with a high
phosphorous
fertilizer in early
spring. Something
like super-phosphate
with a nutrient
ratio of 0-20-0 would
work well.

There are several
varieties of redbud
with exceptional
characteristics.
Here are a few to
consider planting
in your garden:

  • ‘Red Forest
    Pansy’

    – In addition to
    the purple blooms
    this tree produces
    dark burgundy
    leaves.
  • Cercis
    canadensis
    var.
    alba

    – This is the
    red bud’s white
    flowering cousin.
  • Cercis
    Canadensis
    var.
    texensis ‘Oklahoma’
    – This
    variety produces
    deep wine colored
    blooms. The leaves
    open pink and mature
    to a nice glossy
    green.
  • ‘Royal
    White’

    – Another white
    blooming variety.
  • Lavender
    Twist’

    – This tree has a
    weeping form.
  • ‘Silver
    Cloud’

    Green and white
    mottled foliage
    make this variety
    unique. Best for
    partial shade
    locations.