How To Successfully Grow A Redbud Tree

The redbud tree (Cercis Canadensis) is a bubbly, pink, ornamental tree that is also known as the Judas Tree. This biblical analogy second name comes from the history, or rumors –– whichever you prefer –– that says that Judas used a member of this tree's family to end his life. But before you balk at this history as bad luck (which it is not), you should know that the redbud tree is the envy of the garden and gardeners who can grow them. So, you may want to consider planting one for yourself.

Earlier on, when we spoke about the 15 small trees that will not take over your yard, the redbud tree made that list. Since it is a gardener's prize and the seemingly perfect dwarf tree to grow in your yard or garden (if you are considering keeping spaces), today we are providing you with a comprehensive overview of the tree.

The redbud tree comes in a plethora of varieties, and the Arbor Day Foundation writes that they can grow up to 20 feet x 30 feet at maturity level in USDA Hardiness Zones 4 through 9. Want to learn more about this native to the Midwest? Read on!

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How to use a redbud tree in garden

Most gardeners are more concerned about how a particular plant or tree blends in with the rest of their yard rather than how great the plant does individually. Great practice, we have to say. When it comes to the redbud tree, Southern Living says that these dwarf trees are excellent in groupings and are perfect for forming an edge. If you want to create a non-artificial edge to your garden, the redbud might just be the plant you are looking for.

Also, the redbud works as a pollinator attraction in your garden, writes The Pioneer Woman. Its sweet, bright, and blooming flowers blossom in spring — early enough to make up for any late-blooming flowers and plants. Frankly, we think that this is a great balance and a must-have in the garden.

Lastly, the redbud tree can be used as an excellent partitioning plant. SFGate writes that they fit well into small spaces, too. With this, you can easily have them stand-alone or employ them as a partition to separate fruits, vegetables, or other plants. We cannot wait to hear what you did with your redbud tree.

How to grow a redbud tree

Now onto the first few baby steps: planting a redbud tree. The following tips apply to any type of redbud you decide to plant. The first thing to do is to gather everything you will require, which includes, compost, a shovel or spade, a fork, scissors, mulch, a rich and moist well-draining soil, and the proper clothing.

Step two will largely involve choosing your planting spot. Now, what you want to do is to ensure that you select a space at least 6 feet away from your home, as well as away from your fence by at least 3 feet. The reason for this is quite obvious and logical, but we will emphasize it: By doing this, you're simply giving your tree enough room for its roots and avoiding having the them find their way into your home, potentially breaking the edge, writes Expert Home Reports.

Finally, the steps which go into planting an actual tree are to dig a hole about three times the size of the root ball, place in the root ball inside and hold it up straight, fill the hole with compost and soil, and cover it back up while ensuring that the root ball stays erect and upright. Once you are done, add some mulch and water regularly, advises Gardening Know How. Oh yes, the last tip: Please be sure to plant your redbud tree where it can receive about four hours of full sun daily, says Perfect Plants.

How to care for a redbud tree

Once your redbud tree has taken root, the entire tree is low maintenance. That is a good deal if you ask us — bright, blooming, beautiful trees for several years for very little work. Now, let us get down to the care instructions.

The first thing to know about caring for a redbud tree is that your plant requires at least four to eight hours of sun daily. If you cannot get full sun, your tree won't be too picky about partial shade, writes Gardening Know How. This maintenance thing is by and large a one-off thing; if you miss the right spot upon planting, that is it, so good luck and be extra careful. Moving on, for water, your redbud tree does not need that much — seriously, the plant is naturally drought resistant and will prove this beautifully in harsh, low-water conditions. However, in its early stage, you should ensure you water your new sprout thoroughly says, Garden Expert Guide

The deal with pruning a redbud tree is that it reminds the plant what regular growth should be. You don't want all those inelegant branches spiking out from everywhere, per SFGate. To prune, simply make a habit of removing damaged branches as this helps air circulate through the plant well. Regarding fertilizer, Planting Tree writes that the best time to fertilize a plant is in spring with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer.

Varieties of redbud tree

The eastern redbud tree (Cercis Canadensis) has a plethora of varieties; according to Farm Food Family, there are at least 17. We would like to discuss six of them for you.

First off, we have the Merlot. This aesthetically-pleasing tree is known for its pink flowers and large leaves, which often come in a rough shade mixture of red and green. Trust us, you cannot miss it. The next, the Ruby Falls which is one of the most common redbud trees, is the one with regular red or purplish flowers. During the spring the leaves tend to be burgundy, but in the heat of summer they are bright green, writes MasterClass.

An in-house favorite is the redbud tree which stands out from the rest and brings forth white instead of red flowers. Should we have called this a whitebud tree instead? Anyhow, the Texas White is a distinct variety of the redbud tree, which has bright green leaves and a lovely white shade of blooming flowers, says New Blooms.

Also, we have the Silver Cloud, which takes differences up a notch and grows its flowers on bare branches — can you believe that?! We couldn't too until Monrovia confirmed it. Other varieties of the redbud tree include the Forest Pantry and the Ace of Hearts, which are excellent dwarf trees perfect for small yards and gardens, shares What Grows There.

Is the redbud tree toxic?

Another great practice undertaken by most gardeners is to understand the toxicity of a certain species of plant before going ahead and planting it in their outdoor spaces. This is great and in fact, is a must for plant owners who have kids and or pets. 

The redbud tree is not exactly toxic to humans; no, we are not undecided. According to Plants For a Future, the redbud tree has a toxin called saponin. However, this is not harmful to the body, which can absorb this element and pass it out as waste without any issue. Additionally, saponin might as well be in your canned baked beans as it poses no issue; cooking it breaks down the toxins and makes them edible enough for your condiments.

If you have pets, especially dogs, what you want to avoid doing is repeatedly tying your dog to the tree. Heck, do not even do it at all, because Bike Hike writes that this could kill your tree, especially in the early stage — and make a very aggressive animal out of your dog.

How to replant a redbud tree

Quite frankly, we are not that big on transplanting redbud trees. No, this is not another bias, as even Happy DIY Home says that the redbud tree detests being transplanted. However, you might have a plethora of valid reasons for transplanting the redbud, ranging from ignorantly growing one in a pot, space conservation, and even choosing the wrong spot for your tree in the first place (we cannot overemphasize this enough, plant your redbud tree only in spots where they can receive up to four to eight hours of sunlight daily). Either way, we will tell you just how to replant the tree.

First things first, dig a hole as high as the roots, or as tall as the pot itself, says The Pioneer Woman. Contrary to the rumors you have heard, the redbud tree does not need to be planted too deep in the earth. Once you have your hole, it's time to dig up the plant. This is relatively easy as all you have to do is to dig around the roots with a spade and bring out the root ball.

For more professional measures, snip some parts of the rough root as that stimulates growth, and then insert it into the ground, cover with compost soil and fertilizer, and you're done. San Antonio Express-News writes that the most preferred time to replant a redbud tree is shortly after it has gone through one winter.