Redbuds are lovely small trees: sturdy and adaptable, with rosy-pink spring flowers. Their size – 20’ tall or less – also makes them an excellent landscape choice when you don’t have the room for a larger tree.
Redbud flowers appear in early spring, cloaking the bare branches in small sweet pea-shaped blooms. The flowers are followed by beautiful heart-shaped leaves in a variety of colors, depending upon variety (see below). In general, redbuds prefer full sun and well-drained soil, and are relatively drought tolerant when established. Redbuds are also pollinator friendly and even relatively deer resistant. The one place where they can get a little picky is that they don’t like to have their roots disturbed. When planting a redbud, avoid loosening the roots before transplanting – the less root disturbance they have, the happier they are!
Here are some of the redbud varieties Shooting Star generally has available:
‘Oklahoma’: Oklahoma is one of the most heat tolerant redbuds we carry. Intensely red-pink buds open to a bright magenta pink. New leaves have a coppery tinge that matures into a dark, glossy green. Mature trees can get to be 20’ tall by 25’ wide.
‘Merlot’: Merlot’s emerging foliage is a stunningly deep purple that contrasts beautifully with their bright rose-colored flowers. Mature leaves retain a bronzy purple coloring that turns bright yellow in fall. Mature trees are 18’ tall by 20’ wide, with a nice rounded canopy.
'The Rising Sun': This redbud features lovely lavender flowers in spring, but its most striking feature is the color of its leaves. New leaves are a deep apricot color that fades into a soft yellow, followed by lime green. The Rising Sun is less tolerant than most other redbuds, and will benefit from a bit extra afternoon shade. Mature trees are just 8’ to 12’ tall, by 8’ wide.
Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis): This is our local native redbud. Anyone who has driven down I-5 into Redding in the early spring has noticed these tough beauties growing on the hillside. Western redbud is extremely drought tolerant and also tolerates heavy soils better than other redbuds. Slow growing; 15’ tall and wide.