Cercis flowers

A family of small deciduous trees and shrubs grown for their attractive foliage and colourful pea-like flowers in spring.

Family: Fabaceae
Botanical Name: Cercis (ker-cis)
Common Names: Judus tree, redbud

Foliage: Deciduous, simple round or heart-shaped leaves, often with good autumn colour.

Flowers: Clusters of pink or purple pea-like flowers, which usually open before or with the leaves. Often followed by long flat seedpods.

Flowering Period: Spring.

Soil: Moist but well-drained, fertile soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Plant in any aspect.

Habit: Bushy.

Type: Small tree or shrub.

Origin: North America, eastern Mediterranean and China.

Hardiness: Hardy in most regions of the UK.

Planting and Growing Cercis

Grow in fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade.

Plant container grown plants at any reasonable time. Choose the planting location carefully, as they dislike transplanting once mature.

Taking Care of Cercis

Pruning Cercis

Remove any damaged or dead branches in spring.

Pests and Diseases

Prone to attack by leafhopper and scale insects. Can be affected by verticillium wilt. Coral-spot fungus can be a problem in wet seasons.

Propagating Cercis

Sow seed in a prepared seedbed outside in spring.

Cultivars can be increased by layering or grafting in spring or by taking semi-hardwood cuttings in summer.

Varieties of Cercis

Cercis canadensis (redbud) is a small, hardy, spreading shrubby tree with heart shaped leaves. Clusters of pale pink flowers in late spring. Height up to 16ft (5m). Popular varieties include:

  • 'Alley Cat' bears variegated foliage that adds a bright splash of colour. For sale at Crocus.
  • 'Avondale' (RHS Award of Garden Merit) a compact form. Its bare, upright shoots are covered in small clusters of deep purple-pink, pea-like flowers in spring. The heart-shaped emerging foliage is rich-green, turning buttery-yellow in autumn. For sale at Thompson & Morgan.
  • 'Eternal Flame'® bears stunning heart-shaped foliage that emerges as bright glossy red. For sale at Suttons.
  • 'Forest Pansy' deep purple-red foliage throughout the growing season. For sale at Van Meuwen.
  • 'Golden Falls' a compact, weeping form, with golden foliage. For sale at Crocus.
  • Lavender Twist ('Covey') a new weeping form of American redbud. For sale at Crocus.
  • 'Ruby Falls' (PBR) a compact, weeping form, with purple foliage. For sale at Crocus.

Cercis siliquastrum (Judas tree) is a branching, bushy tree or a large, multi-stemmed shrub with grey-green, rounded leaves. The rosy-pink, pea-shaped, flowers appear on older wood from July onwards. In a good summer they will often produce flattened purplish long seed pods. Height to 26ft (8m). For sale at You Garden.