10 Inspiring Types of Redbud Trees (with Photos)

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by Max - last update on January 24, 2020, 1:39 am
Types of Redbud Trees

Redbud trees belong to the pea family (Fabaceae) and are very versatile, being suitable for use as both shrubs and trees. They are reliable bloomers, often signaling the first sign of spring when their branches light up with masses of small flowers before their leaves emerge several weeks later.

Redbud trees, despite being deciduous, hold interest throughout all four seasons. They have attractive foliage, which appears in various colors, often transforming to other shades throughout the year. When flowers fade, they are replaced by seed pods that vary in color. Even after the tree sheds its leaves, it remains attractive thanks to its elegant and densely branched silhouette.

Redbud trees grow easily so long as they are provided with ample moisture in well-draining soil and given plenty of bright light. They are a low-maintenance tree, providing the gardener with lots of enjoyment for minimal effort.

1. Forest Pansy (Cercis canadensis)

Forest Pansy (Cercis canadensis)

Mature Size: Up to 30 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 5- 9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Maintain consistent moisture

Soil: Fertile well-draining

Flower Color: Pink

Special Features: Large attractive foliage

This deciduous plant can be grown as a large shrub or small tree. It typically grows to between 20 and 30 feet tall, spreading wider than it is tall to between 25 and 35 feet.

The pink flowers bloom in early spring, covering the previously bare tree with small pea-shaped blossoms. The foliage arrives several weeks later in shades of purple and red. The leaves are broad, measuring around 5 inches across, and they are heart-shaped with a glossy finish. They develop into rich shades of orange and bronze later in the year, adding fall interest to wherever this plant grows.

The tree grows easily in fertile soils that have a consistent level of moisture. Though the tree is suitable for growing in partial shade, it will bloom most abundantly in a position of full sun. However, it is recommended that the plant be offered afternoon shade in hot climates to protect it.

This tree has won the prestigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.


2. Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis)

Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis)

Mature Size: Up to 15 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 6- 9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Drought tolerant

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: Magenta

Special Features: Purple seed pods

This deciduous Redbud is commonly grown as both a shrub and a small multi-stemmed tree. It blooms in spring before any of the leaves have arrived, with purple-pink flowers covering the silver branches. As the flowers fade in the summer, they are replaced by purple seed pods, which are so bright that they give the impression of the tree having bloomed twice.

The foliage of the tree starts out as a shimmering bright green, which develops to a darker blue-green in the summer months. Leaves are loosely heart-shaped, coming to a rounded tip instead of being pointed. The foliage undergoes several color changes before the year is out, next to golden chartreuse, before finishing in bronze-red in the fall. When the leaves drop, they reveal the stunning silver-gray skeleton of the tree, providing four seasons of interest.


3. Hearts of Gold (Cercis canadensis)

Hearts of Gold (Cercis canadensis)

Mature Size: Up to 25 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 5- 9

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Fertile, well-draining

Flower Color: Lavender

Special Features: Golden foliage

This tree or shrub is visually striking in the spring when its branches are covered with small lavender flowers before any foliage has a chance to grow. The purple flowers bloom in abundance, with a rounded pea-like appeal. The flowers last for a few weeks before the foliage arrives. Leaves start out a copper color, before developing into a bright yellow in the summer. As summer fades, so does the foliage, and the leaves dull to a deeper, darker gold.

Most redbud trees can grow in full sun or partial shade, though they typically suffer from leaf burn if kept in a full sun position in hot climates. However, this type of redbud tree is the exception, as it can thrive in full sun without experiencing any leaf scorching, making it ideal for a bright spot in your garden. It also does well in partial shade, and its golden leaves can bring a welcome brightness to any shaded areas (Gardenia).


4. Tennessee Pink (Cercis canadensis)

Tennessee Pink (Cercis canadensis)

Credit to scadwell

Mature Size: Up to 12 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 5- 9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, rich

Flower Color: Pink

Special Features: Small size

This redbud tree is a dwarf variety, growing to a maximum of just 12 feet tall. This makes it an ideal specimen tree in smaller gardens, and it would also work well when grown in a container. This tree does not like to be disturbed, so ensure you plant it in a good spot because it will not respond well if you try to move it later down the line.

The flowers of this tree bloom several weeks before leaves emerge, adorning the branches with bright pink delicate blooms. The flowers last for 2 or 3 weeks, after which time semi-glossy heart-shaped leaves appear. These leaves unfurl in a dark shade of green, which progresses to yellow when fall arrives.

The branches of the tree grow in a way that creates a dome-shaped canopy, which can be seen even more clearly when the leaves drop. This tree is attractive even when bare, thanks to its elegant silhouette.


5. Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

Mature Size: Up to 30 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 4-9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

Flower Color: Pink

Special Features: State tree of Oklahoma

This tree is native to North America, growing from Ontario in Canada all the way down to Florida in the US. It is the state tree of Oklahoma, where it can be seen lining many of the streets and is sometimes referred to by the name ‘Covey.’

This tree often grows with a multi-trunked tree, giving it a slender and elegant appeal. The branches spread out wider than the height of the tree, sometimes as much as 35 feet across. The flowers of the tree bloom in spring before the foliage emerges, covering the branches in small blooms in various shades of pink. Flowers then develop into small pods of seeds, which are brown in color.

When leaves arrive, they are rounded off heart-shapes, in a lime green flushed with red. As the year progresses and summer arrives, the foliage transforms to dark green and then fades to yellow in the fall before dropping off and leaving the tree bare. This beautiful tree is attractive to butterflies and tends to be resistant to most pests (Missouri Botanical Garden).


6. Chinese Redbud (Cercis chinensis)

Chinese Redbud (Cercis chinensis)

Mature Size: Up to 12 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 6- 9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: Pink-purple

Special Features: Flowers profusely

This tree flowers in the spring, its branches covered in dense clusters of pink-purple blooms. Though all redbuds flower quite heavily and reliably, the Chinese Redbud is renowned for being the most prolific bloomer among the redbuds. Its elegant branches are practically smothered in small blossoms for 2 or 3 weeks before the foliage emerges.

Leaves of this tree are large and glossy, in the shape of hearts. They start out green flushed with red, eventually turning to yellow in the fall before dropping off. This tree is the recipient of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.


7. Ace of Hearts (Cercis canadensis)

Ace of Hearts (Cercis canadensis)

Mature Size: Up to 12 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 5-9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Average moisture

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: Purple-red

Special Features: Purple-red flowers

This redbud has a compact habit that can grow to a maximum of 12 feet tall and 15 feet wide. It produces densely packed branches that create an umbrella-shaped canopy. In the spring, before leaves have emerged, the tree goes into full bloom with a mass of purple-red flowers decorating the branches. The small and pretty blossoms last for up to 3 weeks before the foliage takes center stage. Leaves emerge as dark green hearts, which then develop to yellow in the fall.

As a small tree, this works well in compact gardens, in beds, or borders. It can also grow well in a container pot. Position it in a full sun spot to encourage the best flower production or situate it in partial shade if you experience especially hot summers, as this could burn the leaves. Maintain moist and even soil, paying extra attention to soil moisture levels if you plant the tree in a pot, as these tend to dry out quicker than if planted directly into the ground.

The tree is popular among pollinators such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds and will help to encourage this wildlife to visit your garden.


8. Merlot (Cercis canadensis)

Merlot (Cercis canadensis)

Mature Size: Up to 12 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 6-9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Drought tolerant

Soil: Well-draining, fertile

Flower Color: Dark pink

Special Features: Drought and heat tolerant

This tree is a hybrid, combining the Texas Redbud and the Forest Pansy Redbud. It is renowned for its striking dark leaves and its ability to withstand heat and periods of drought. It is a dwarf variety, growing to a maximum of 12 feet in height and blooms in spring before the leaves emerge.

Flowers are a shade of dark pink and are small and dainty. Blooms last for a few weeks, at which time, the foliage makes an appearance. As you might expect from the name of this redbud, the leaves are a deep shade of red, similar to the color of red wine. They tend to be on the small side, vaguely heart-shaped, and with a semi-gloss finish.

The exceptional thing about this tree is that unlike most redbuds, the leaves do not exhibit any signs of burn when kept in direct sun during very hot summers. It is also able to tolerate periods of drought, which is uncommon for redbud trees. Though it is able to cope with drought, this tree grows best if moist soil is maintained.


9. Judas Tree (Cercis siliquastrum)

Judas Tree (Cercis siliquastrum)

Mature Size: Up to 25 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 6-9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Rich, well-draining

Flower Color: Pink

Special Features: Purple seed pods

This tree is native to the eastern Mediterranean region and is therefore sometimes referred to as the Mediterranean Redbud. It is a deciduous tree that branches out to create a dome-like canopy overhead. The flowers bloom in clusters in spring prior to the arrival of the tree's foliage, and these blossoms tend to be larger than those found on other redbud trees.

The pink flowers last for several weeks before turning into purple dangling seed pods. The seed pods add further interest to the tree and can last right up to winter. The foliage of this tree starts out copper-red, maturing to deep green in the summer and yellow-green in the fall.


10. Ruby Falls (Cercis canadensis)

Ruby Falls (Cercis canadensis)

Mature Size: Up to 6 feet tall

Hardiness Zone: 5-9

Light: Full sun to partial shade

Water: Maintain moist soil

Soil: Well-draining

Flower Color: Red-pink

Special Features: Winner of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society

This award-winning tree is petite in stature and is the smallest of all the redbud trees at a maximum height of 6 feet and a maximum spread of 4 feet. It is noted for its weeping branches that drape downwards. These branches come alive with masses of ruby-colored flowers in the spring, which bloom ahead of the leaves’ arrival and give the tree its fitting name of ‘Ruby Falls.’

The foliage of this tree starts out dark red, with glossy heart-shaped leaves. These develop into a dark green color throughout the summer.

 

10 Inspiring Types of Redbud Trees (with Photos)

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