#ProPlantTips: Best Redbud Tree Varieties & Care Guide

#ProPlantTips: Best Redbud Tree Varieties & Care Guide

Redbud Tree Varieties in garden

We are all ready for winter to be over with by this time of year! There are quite a few early spring flowering plants that are here to help us break free from those winter blues! Forsythia, spring bulbs, and Redbud trees are some of the first to explode onto the scene, sometimes blooming without even waiting for winter to close the door as it leaves!

Early spring blossoms, unique zig-zag branching, heart-shaped foliage, fall color, and more! The early spring flowering Redbud tree is a fantastic sun or partial shade understory tree that features faster growth and is very low maintenance and easy care! Hardy, resistant, adaptable deciduous ornamental trees, the early flowers are a boon to pollinators as a rich nectar resource!

Redbud Perks

Redbud has so many incredible benefits awaiting you, regardless of which type you choose!

  • Bees & Butterfly Nectar
  • Zig-Zag Branching
  • Fall Color
  • Heart-Shaped Waving Leaves
  • Incredible Blooms
  • Disease Resistant
  • Versatile & Adaptable
  • Deer Resistant
  • Easy Care
  • Fast-Growing
  • Wide Range of Shapes, Sizes & Forms
  • Juglone Tolerant

April is typically when you see the first Redbuds (Cercis) burst onto the scene, this will of course vary with your climate and growing zone, where warmer climates may even enjoy February blossoms! 

The blooms literally grow directly on the zig-zagging stems and branches and completely smother the entire plant in a profusion of rosy pink to purple flowers! A member of the Pea family, you’ll no doubt see the family resemblance in the flowers and later in the seed pods.

The heart-shaped leaves that emerge later in the spring are lovely for light shade and their waving motion in the slightest breeze! Most of today's modern Redbud have incredible spring color and fall color available to add more interest to these already intriguing plants!

Best Redbud Tree Varieties

#5 - Flame Thrower® Redbud

Starting off our list is the Flame Thrower® Redbud tree and as its name implies this fiery ornamental not only features the classic reddish-purple blossoms but then explodes into leaf with scarlet new foliage that slowly transforms into bright, almost chartreuse green, dark burgundy, red-orange, orange-yellow and green for the growing season! 

These are amazingly easy to grow, disease-resistant and have near weeping branches, in case you needed more reasons to fall in love with this tree! These are ideal accents, and specimen trees that really show off all year long! Hardy in USDA growing zones 5-9

#4 - Eastern Redbud

The native tree that started it all! The Eastern Redbud, Cercis canadensis, is well-known for its durability and ease of care, making it a landscaping standard throughout a wide range of growing zones, climates and garden applications. Available as a multi-trunk or single stem tree, there are so many different ways to use these iconic natives! 

Featuring the classic reddish-purple blossoms and brilliant green heart-shaped leaves that transform into a darker green for the growing season. Hardy in USDA growing zones 4-9, these fast-growing trees are highly disease and pest-resistant! An understory tree in nature, Redbuds thrive in both full sun or part shade and are used to being in close quarters with other plants!

#3 - Black Pearl™ Redbud

Like a goth version of the Flame Thrower, the Black Pearl™ features amazingly glossy, super deep dark reddish-purple leaves that are almost black! Featuring pinkish-lavender blooms and the same devil's-backbone branching, the thicker leaves are disease resistant and even become shockingly darker for the fall season!

Hardy growing zones 5-9, these grow shorter than wide, and really boosts your home’s curb appeal regardless of what season it is! Even the bare branches covered in snow look ornamental all winter! The longer petioles make these glossy leaves wave in the slightest breeze for an even greater eye-catching effect!

#2 - Golden Falls® Weeping Redbud

Our list's runner-up is a real head turner! As romantic as a Weeping Willow, but even more elegant and incredibly space-saving! Golden Falls is a single stem trunk that can grow to about 8-10 feet tall and remains only 3-4 feet wide! 

It features branches that sharply weep to the ground! Retaining the characteristic zig-zag pattern, the long drooping branches become festooned in electric lavender-pink blossoms!

Featuring incredibly bright, grassy green leaves tipped in orange highlights, they mature to beautiful golden-yellow! Hardy in USDA growing zones 5-9, this narrow, columnar-growing tree is an incredible specimen and focal point for your landscape, regardless of size!

#1 - Rising Sun™ Redbud 

Earning first place in our list is a worthy specimen with incredible form, color, and landscape appeal that will have cars slowing down as they pass your home year-round! Imagine a Redbud with spreading horizontal branches growing nearly straight out from the trunk, then graciously dip down before arching back up again at the ends!

You'll be starstruck by the new heart-shaped leaves as they deliver a kaleidoscope of color, emerging a highly pigmented deep apricot-laden marmalade. As the beat of your spring goes on, the foliage develops into a quietly riotous mix of sunshine yellow, acid shades of orange-gold and juicy apricot. 

Yes, you'll see all these amazing technicolors at the same time on a single tree!

But before the leaves, you’ll enjoy the bright pinkish-purple blossoms that are superior in their longevity! Even hummingbirds cannot ignore them! 

Growing about 10-12 feet in height and a compact 8-10 feet in width, these are hands-down the brightest sunniest foliage around! Don’t let these delicate-looking leaves fool you, they’re highly resistant to sun scorch, so even the hottest USDA growing zones of 5-9 can plant these in full sun locations! Plus you’ll still enjoy all the heat and cold resistance, pest and disease resistance, adaptability and ease of care as the others on this list!

Shop Redbud Trees

Where is the Best Place to Plant a Redbud Tree?

Redbud trees are wonderful specimens, so situate one in your front yard to slow traffic all year long! Prune smaller or choose a mid-sized tree and use one as a foundation anchor to soften corners and shade garden beds. 

Not minding sharing space, these trees are wonderful for creating informal groupings and clumps at the edge of your property or creating a woodland grove. 

Use anywhere without worry they’ll reach powerlines or outgrow your space! The roots are not invasive, so with the exception of the skinniest patches of ground between the road and sidewalk, Redbuds make great street trees!

Create a canopy with some pruning and set a bench beneath a Redbud at the end of a path for a restful destination spot! Create a focal point planting in your front landscaping and ring the base of the tree with shade-loving perennials.

While not particular on soil type, any well-drained location works great, just avoid that soggy spot by the gutters. Redbud creates light shade and year-round interest, so we’re sure you’ll find a place in your landscape for these trees!

Fast-Growing Redbud Tree Care

Redbud trees won't tolerate swampy, wet soils. They need very well-drained locations. Don't plant them too deeply; keep them at the same level they were growing in their nursery pots. Dig your hole twice as wide as the root ball, but no deeper. 

Use Nature Hills Root Booster in the planting hole for a life-long symbiotic resource for the tiny feeder roots.

Site your Redbud tree with care, as all Redbud tree varieties resent being moved. Redbuds will flower in partial shade, but they produce the most blossoms in full sun.

Good air circulation is appreciated, as is morning sunshine to dry the leaves. Prune as soon as the flowers fade. Keep the interior of your Redbud tree open by removing any broken or dead limbs to open the canopy to air and sunlight. 

At the same time, you can take the time to nestle your Redbud into its site. Custom-fit your Redbud tree with a mindful pruning plan. Redbud wood is heavy and hard. 

Keep your Redbud healthy and happy with regular water. Plant in rich, organic soil that drains well, not too wet, not too dry. Add a thick layer of mulch over the root system, but be sure to pull it back away from touching the trunk.

What Are You Waiting For?

Redbuds are also available in a range of sizes, multi-stem and single-trunked forms! Some trees even flower with snowy white blossoms like the Royal White and Vanilla Twist Weeping Redbud! You’ll even see variegated specimens like the Carolina Sweetheart® and Whitewater Weeping Redbud and flashy yellow Rise & Shine Redbud varieties in case you wanted to really knock the socks off your neighbors!

Other types of redbud trees worth checking out include Forest Pansy, Ace of Hearts, and Oklahoma.

The modern and classic Redbud has so much to offer you and your landscape! So head over to NatureHills.com or reach out to our knowledgeable staff for help choosing the right Redbud for you today! 

With so much to offer year-round, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect Redbud Tree for your yard today!

Happy planting!

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