The Cercis Canadensis (Eastern Redbud) Full Care Guide


The Eastern Redbud, otherwise known as the Cercis Canadensis is a well known tree native to the Southeast, Northeast, and the Southwest of the United States.

Best known for its low maintenance and moderate growth, this tree will likely liven up your house (or garden) with its green colored leaves. But, only if you learn how to take proper care of it for it to thrive.

Fortunately, taking care of your Eastern Redbud is not too difficult – as long as you follow our guidelines in this Eastern Redbud Care Guide. Now let’s get started.

But if you prefer to watch a short video instead, check it out here:

The fundamental caring guidelines for every Eastern Redbud can be summed up into the following:

  • Water: The Eastern Redbud wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.
  • Light: Keep your Cercis Canadensis in an environment where it can receive full sun on a daily basis. 
  • Soil: Make sure to keep the Eastern Redbud in soil with well-draining properties, so ideally, one that is made of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

And as with many other plants, these are the only three care factors you need to remember to make sure your Eastern Redbud is, for the most part, healthy and well to survive.

Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud) Flowers

Scientific / Botanical Aspects

In botanical terms, the Eastern Redbud belongs to the Fabaceae family, the genus Cercis and the species Canadensis, hence its scientific (or botanical) name Cercis Canadensis (SER-sis kan-a-DEN-sis).

As with other Cercis’s, the Eastern Redbud is a deciduous plant, which means it will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

Growing Region

The Eastern Redbud is a plant native to the Eastern and central North America and NC to E. Mexico. This is why the Cercis Canadensis is used to growing in specific regions such as the states in Southeast, Northeast, and the Southwest of the United States.

Knowing your plant’s native region is very useful, as it can give you tips on which environment is best for your Eastern Redbud. If you keep it in mind, you can try to replicate these conditions at home, and you’ll likely end with a healthier plant.

With this in mind, the Cercis Canadensis will be most used to the heat zones in the 2 – 9 region, as the plant hardiness level falls between 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a and the ideal climate zone is between 1, 1A, 1B, 2, 2A, 2B, 3, 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24.

Growth and Size

Growth

In terms of size and growth, the Eastern Redbud is a relatively moderate grower, which makes things somewhat easy for any plant enthusiast.

Size

But, what size of Eastern Redbud are we talking about? What can you expect in terms of height, spread and spacing? Let’s dig in…

The Cercis Canadensis can grow up to 20′ – 30′ (6m – 9m) in 20′ – 30′ (6m – 9m) and 25′ – 35′ (7.5m – 10.5m) in 25′ – 35′ (7.5m – 10.5m). 

Also, expect it to grow in a wonderful rounded shape, which is something worthwhile to remember when making your garden landscape plans.

Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud)

Water

In terms of watering, the Eastern Redbud is a somewhat complicated plant to take care of.

This is mostly because it has a not so straightforward watering schedule and somewhat regular watering needs.

Specifically, most experts agree that the Cercis Canadensis wants regular watering to enhance fruit production but as a landscape plant, too much water will be a problem.

Which is why it is considered a plant with relatively average needs in terms of water. 

Watering

As a rule of thumb, you should remember to keep your Eastern Redbud in soil with well-draining characteristics, as these will guarantee the right conditions for your plant to grow and thrive. 

When you consider this, this is why you should aim to choose soil that has good drainage, moist, and occasionally dry properties to keep the right moisture levels at all times. 

In our experience, the famous ‘thumb’ or ‘finger’ test is what works best for the Eastern Redbud since with it, you will be able to give it the right amount of water, every time – regardless of the environment or placement where you do decide to keep it.

Soil Mix

As mentioned earlier, the Eastern Redbud prefers to have soil with good drainage, moist, and occasionally dry properties at all times, reason why you need to make the soil mix out of clay, loam, chalk, and sand.

This is why most experts agree that the Eastern Redbud requires soil with clay, which will give you the right conditions it needs.

In addition to this, expert gardeners recommend having preferably alkaline, acid or neutral soil.

Light and Exposure

In terms of light & exposure, the Eastern Redbud requires full sun in order for it to thrive under the right conditions. 

Most experts agree that this tree will do well as long as you keep it in partial to full sun, and it will be able to grow properly.

Specifically, we recommend that you place your Cercis Canadensis in little to partial shade (only 2-6 hours of direct sunlight a day), to full and direct sun (more 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).

Season

Being a deciduous plant, the Eastern Redbud will shed its leaves annually once autumn comes.

But, you can expect it to have its ‘prime-time’ during the spring (early, mid), and during the fall.

Flowers

You can expect your Eastern Redbud to flower around the spring months from April to June (spring).

In particular, this tree is well known for its showy flowers around the plant enthusiast community.

The Eastern Redbud produces some beautiful pink, or pink and purple/lavender flowers around this time of year.

Foliage

The leaves from the Eastern Redbud have a beautiful green color during most of the year.

In particular, they have a simple arrangement with an alternate organization in its leaves.

You can expect the leaves from your Cercis Canadensis to be around (3-6 inches) in size.

Cercis canadensis (Eastern Redbud) Full Bloom

Attracts, Tolerance and Resistance

The Eastern Redbud is well known for being able to attract butterflies, so keep that in mind when choosing your plant, as you’ll likely end up finding one or another in your garden.

Additionally, it has a special tolerance for clay soil, and animals like deer, so don’t worry if any of these come along, your Cercis Canadensis will be fine.

Garden

Now, let’s talk garden and how your Eastern Redbud will look best in it.

Most Cercis Canadensis owners agree that this tree will look great in most cottage and rustic gardens of all types. 

Other owners consider that they compliment well most gardens of informal and cottage, and in traditional garden styles. 

In particular, the Eastern Redbud’s best location within your garden is in beds and borders, and in wall-side borders, others use it for landscaping in a mass planting, urban garden, firescaping/fire wise, specimen, or a wildlife garden.

Companion Plants

Eastern Redbud’s do well with some other plants beside it. One good companion plant is the Hamamelis, which will pair up nicely with your leafy friend.

Others consider that a nice Symphoricarpos will work well too, so choose whichever you find works best for you!

Conclusion

So that’s it! These are the main plant care requirements that you need to keep in mind in order to have a healthy Eastern Redbud in your garden or home.

Sebastian Moncada

I’m also a plant enthusiast and researcher. I’ve been privileged to have lived my whole life around the wilderness of Colombia and I’m happy to share everything I learn along the way. “Adopt the pace of nature. Her secret is patience” – Emerson.

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