Eastern Redbud

eastern redbud cercis canadensis ftimg

Eastern Redbud

Cercis canadensis

Description & Overview

A small stature tree that flowers profusely in spring along its branches, Eastern Redbud will provide spring interest even in less than ideal light conditions. Our plants are hardy for Wisconsin landscapes as they are selected from established trees up to Zone 4.

Core Characteristics

Wisconsin Native: No – Native to North America
Mature Height: 20-30 feet
Mature Spread: 25-35 feet
Growth Rate: Slow
Growth Form: Rounded, vase-shaped. Available in single stem tree, multistem tree, and shrub form.
Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Site Requirements: Tolerant of many soils except wet, performs well in dry, alkaline conditions
Flower: Purple-Pink, fragrant, showy, profuse, monoecious
Bloom Period: April-May
Foliage: Red-Purple to Dark Blue-Green
Fall Color: Yellow
Fruit Notes: Small seed pod (legume), 2-3 inches long

Suggested Uses:

Eastern Redbud is a great choice for smaller spaces. Use as a specimen or group, street tree, or a shrub border where spring interest is desired. Provides moderate screening when in leaf.

eastern redbud tree #25 container multi stem at johnson's nursery

Salable #25 Container Multi Stem Redbud. Pictures taken mid-August.

field grown 6 and 7 foot multi stem eastern redbud cercis canadensis at johnson's nursery harvest tree farms

Salable 6- and 7-foot field grown B&B Multi Stem in Spring Harvest. Pictures taken late March.

eastern redbud cercis canadensis

Salable 5' Field Grown Shrub Form Redbud. Pictures taken mid-July.

Wildlife Value:

Eastern Redbud provides habitat and food for many bird species. Bees love the flowers for a nectar source and will use plant parts for nesting structures. Eastern Redbud nectar is also a food source for the Henry’s Elfin Buttefly (Callophrys henrici).

Maintenance Tips:

Both the single stem and multistem forms can be left to grow naturally. If pruning Eastern Redbud for structure is required, do so during the dormant season. Remove diseased portions of the tree when noticed.

We invite you to check out the Arborist For Hire lookup at the Wisconsin Arborist Association website to find an ISA Certified Arborist near you.

eastern redbud cercis canadensis

Both the single stem and multistem forms can be left to grow naturally.

eastern redbud cercis canadensis


Eastern Redbud is most often damaged by Botryosphaeria Canker, which will cause progressive dieback in the canopy and can kill an entire tree. Prune the affected limbs with a sterile pruner during the dormant season to prevent the spread of the disease. Verticillium Wilt and Anthracnose are also known diseases for the species.

Scale, leafhoppers, and caterpillars may also feed on plant tissue. If pest damage is severe, consult an arborist to determine the best way to protect your tree. As this plant is important to native pollinators, avoid using systemic insecticides that poison all plant parts.

As always, maintaining tree vigor through proper moisture and mulch will reduce the impact of disease and insect damage.

Leaf Lore:

Our Eastern Redbud is sourced from the Columbus Strain, a group of Eastern Redbud that have survived and thrived in Wisconsin’s climate for decades. This ensures that they will perform admirably in our winters with minimal dieback.

In spring, the tree produces a tremendous show of its fragrant pink-purple flowers for several weeks. The leaves emerge a red-purple and change to a deep blue-green color for the rest of the growing season. Eastern Redbud develops an attractive exfoliating bark with age, revealing red-tinged furrows. The twigs have a zig-zag pattern, giving it a unique texture in the landscape.

The twigs of Eastern Redbud can be boiled to produce a yellow dye. The flowers are edible and can be used in salads.

Companion Plants:

As an early season flowering tree, Eastern Redbud pairs well with Forsythia for multicolored springs. Its yellow fall color contrasts nicely with dwarf bushhoneysuckle. It also works well as an understory plant beneath existing trees.

eastern redbud cercis canadensis benchcard