The Eastern Redbud is one of the first trees to bloom in the spring. It is a deciduous, often multi-trunked understory tree with a rounded crown that typically matures to 20-30’ tall with a slightly larger spread. It is particularly noted for its stunning pea-like rose-purple flowers which bloom profusely on bare branches in early spring (March-April) before the foliage emerges. This tree is native to eastern and central North America from Connecticut to New York to southern Ontario and the Great Lakes south to Western Texas and Florida. It is found in open woodlands, thickets, woodland margins, limestone glades and along rocky streams and bluffs. Flowers (to ½” wide) bloom in clusters of 4-10. Flowers are followed by flattened leguminous bean-like dry seedpods (to 2-4” long) that mature to brown in summer. Each pod has 6-12 seeds. Pods may remain on the tree into winter. Alternate, simple, cordate, broadly ovate to nearly orbicular, dull green to blue-green leaves (3-5” across) have a papery texture and are short pointed at the tip. Leaves turn pale yellow to greenish-yellow in fall. Cercis canadensis is the state tree of Oklahoma. Specimen or small groups. Lawns, shrub borders, woodland margins, or along patios. Street tree or lawn tree. Attractive in naturalized settings. Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Part shade is best in hot summer climates. Performs best in moderately fertile soils with regular and consistent moisture.
The seeds have to be scarified and cold stratified to break their winter dormancy.
1. To scarify the seeds, nick or sand the seed coat with sandpaper.
2. Soak the seeds in water for several hours.
3. Put some moist sand in a ziplock bag.
4. Put the seeds in the sand and seal the bag.
5 Put the ziplock bag in the refrigerator for 3 months.
6. Sow the seeds in containers with a mixture of potting soil and sand or vermiculite. The containers should have drainage holes in the bottom.
7. Water the seeds and keep the soil moist but not wet.
8. When the seedlings are a few inches tall, they can be transplanted outdoors.