Cercis, or Redbud, adapts to many soil types and can be planted in sun or part shade. Cercis does not do well in a site that is permanently wet and grows better when planted in a spot that is not in a sprinkler zone during summer. In heavy clay soils, amend with compost & pumice to increase soil drainage.
These are a few of our favorites:
Eastern Redbud: Mauve flowers in early spring, matte green leaves, gold fall color. Upright tree shape. Grows 25-30’ x 25-30’, sun-pt shade, Z4
Cercis canadensis ‘Ace of Hearts’
Ace of Hearts Redbud: Mauve flowers on bare branches in spring, green leaves are stacked neatly like shingles. Gold fall color. Grows 12’ x 15’, sun-pt shade, Z5
Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’
Forest Pansy Redbud: Forest Pansy is a very pretty tree with mauve purple flowers on bare branches in spring, purple heart-shape leaves turn red, orange & gold in autumn. Bare branches in winter are dark purple and grow in a lacy zig-zag pattern. Grows 25’ x 25’, sun-pt shade, Z5
Cercis canadensis ‘Royal White'
Royal White: White flowers are larger & more prolific than C. can ‘Alba’. Blooms in early spring, green heart-shape leaves. Grows 25-30’ x 25-30’, sun-part shade, Z5
Cercis canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’
Ruby Falls Redbud: A purple-leafed weeping Redbud! Mauve flowers, graceful weep to the ground, makes a dome shape. Grows 6-8’ x 4-6’, sun-part shade, Z5
Cercis canadensis ‘Silver Cloud’
Silver Cloud Redbud: Rose pink flowers in spring, heart-shape leaves are green, streaked and dotted with white. Grows 10-12’ x 10-12’, part shade, Z5
Cercis chinensis ‘Avondale’
Avondale Chinese Redbud: Bright magenta flowers coat branches from trunk to tip, green heart-shape leaves turn gold in fall. Grows 10-12’ x 10-12’, sun-part shade, Z5
Genus: Cercis (SEER-sis)
Origin: Native to East Asia, Southern Europe, United States and Mexico
Characteristics: Members of the pea family, the genus consists of 7 species of shrubs and small trees. Small pea-flowers are white, pink or magenta; occur in clusters or short chains (racemes), usually on old wood in early spring. Leaves are heart-shape and can be green, gold, purple or variegated. Leathery seed pods resemble pea pods and occur in summer.
Size: Shrub forms are multi-stemmed and grow 8-10’ x 8-10’. Tree forms range between 10’ at maturity to 25-30’. Weeping forms grow to 8’ x 8’.
Culture: Sun or part shade, adapts to many soil types, but cannot survive in a site that is permanently wet. Cercis grows better when planted in a spot that is not in a sprinkler zone during summer. In heavy clay soils, amend with compost & pumice to increase soil drainage. Provide deep watering, every 2 weeks in the first summer (if it gets really hot, say over 95 degrees, give an additional soaking before the heat comes). Cercis is drought tolerant once established.
Problems: Susceptible to Verticillium wilt — read more about it here.
With insufficient soil drainage, trees can experience root rot. This is likely the leading cause of death of Cercis in Portland.