Redbud Tree, the Understory
Cercis canadensis, fam. ‘Leguminosae’, or the Eastern Redbud as it is commonly known, is a well loved tree for mid spring in the cold climate regions. It has the bright bloom color of trees found in more southern places, lovely heart shaped leaves, and the smaller stature of the understory trees like another spring favorite, the Dogwood. It is native to eastern North America, but its hardiness depends on origination (so purchase from source in your hardiness zone -look up your zone here).
The redbud grows to about 20-30 feet, although most I’ve seen are much smaller even with time. It probably depends on its growing conditions. It tends to vase to dome shaped, and most have bright pink, pea shaped flowers and persistent pods fluttering from the branches. The flowers start as tiniest little pink slippers of bud, then expand into deeper rose…just the color many old fashioned roses. They stand out brightly in the spring landscape, and look especially lovely with companions of dark evergreens and white blooming viburnums.
You can prune the lateral branches to give the tree more strength: the more of a right angle, the stronger the branch structure. Consider growing it in more shady areas in the South.
They also rarely come in white flowering,”Cercis canadensis alba” and purple leaved form, Cercis canadensis ‘Forest Pansy’, both very choice and highly desirable.
[Facts About Growing Redbuds]
- full sun to partial shade
- moisture retaining soil ( like most forest land inahbitants)
- yet tolerates dry conditions and most soils
- zones 4b to 9a
- fast growing
- prolific seeder
- The state tree of Oklahoma
- Redbud flowers and seedpods are edible
What might make an attractive garden scene? One planting plan could include pink tulips such as ‘Pink Diamond’ and a dark maroon such as ‘Queen of Night‘, if the group is in full sun, underplanted with phlox subulata. Virginia bluebells, Iberis sempervirens, lamium maculatum, phlox divaricata,daffodil ‘Thalia’ with its delicate pure white flowers, all make good companions for a spring garden plan centered around the Redbud tree. Money plant, Lunaria annua, comes back from seed each year and is a harmonious red purple hue with later silver seedpods which makes it a lovely season extending prospect. both the redbud tree and lunaria are prolific reseeders, so take that into account if your garden has rich fertile conditions.
A woodland scheme might use sweet woodruff underneath, with ferns and tiarella wherryi.
The Magnolia page might also interest you.
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