Eastern Redbud

Common Name: 
Eastern Redbud
Scientific Name Genus: 
Family Name: 
Identification Notes
Best grown in a well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Part shade is best in areas with hot summers. Does not do well with wet or poorly drained soils. Best if protected in zones 4-5 as winter dieback can be an issue. Best planted as young trees and left undisturbed as the tree does not transplant well.
Native Habitat
Cercis canadensis is native to woodlands and thickets of eastern and central United States. Zones 4-8.
Growth Habit
Eastern redbud is grown as a single or multi-trunked small tree growing 20-30' tall by 25-35' wide.
Shape is rounded to flat topped with branching upright to spreading. The main trunk is generally short with branching close to the ground.
Leaves are heart shaped growing 3-5" long and wide and are alternate.
Leaves emerge bright green maturing to dark green. Fall color is yellow to yellow-green.
Cercis canadensis leaves
Cercis canadensis fall color
Bark and Stems
Stems have a distinct zig-zag growth pattern.
Older branches can have somewhat exfoliating bark with dark brown outer and orange-brown inner bark.
The main ornamental feature are the small purple-pink pea-like flowers in clusters of 4-8 that emerge in late April to early May before the foliage emerges.
Flowers can occur directly on branches and trunks
Heavy blooming.
Cercis canadensis flowers
2-3" long flattened pods that emerge green, turning brown as they mature.
Can be numerous.
Cercis canadensis fruit.
Bloom Time
Spring; late April - early May
Common Problems
Winter dieback can be a problem in zone 4 and 5.
Can be short-lived.
Canker can be a significant disease issue. Verticillium wilt, leaf spots, mildew, blights, Japanese beetles, leaf hoppers, caterpillars, borers, webworms, and scale can be problems.
Varieties or Cultivars
'Forest Pansy' - purple leaved cultivar. Fall color can be shades of reddish-purple to orange.
'Covey' aka 'Lavender Twist' - small weeping cultivar that when trained grows 8-10'
'Silver Cloud' - variegated white and green foliage
'Floating Clouds' - variegated white and green foliage; weeping habit
f. alba - white flowering form
Forest Pansy redbud
Floating Clouds redbud
Cercis canadensis f. alba
Landscape Uses
Best used as a specimen or in small groups. Good for woodland borders, shrub borders, or as a small landscape tree.
Cercis canadensis