Cercis canadensis 'Covey'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 4 Professionals
Common Name: eastern redbud
Type: Tree
Family: Fabaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 4.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 4.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: Lavender pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Attracts: Hummingbirds
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Black Walnut

Culture

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. Avoid wet or poorly drained soils. Since this tree does not transplant well, it should be planted when young and left undisturbed.

Central or main shoot of this weeping cultivar may be staked to promote upright growth to a desired height. When staking is removed, upward growth will usually stop. This is a patented plant that is vegetatively propagated by grafting.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cercis canadensis, commonly called eastern redbud, 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 throughout Missouri (Steyermark). 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.

Genus name comes from the Greek word kerkis meaning weaver’s shuttle in reference to the resemblance of each seed pod to a weaver’s shuttle.

Specific epithet is in reference to Canada (southern Ontario) being part of the native range of this tree.

'Covey’ is a very small weeping cultivar noted for its absence of an upright leader and for its dense umbrella-shaped crown with contorted stems and arching to pendulous branches. If staked and trained, it may eventually rise to 8-10’ tall. If not staked, it may never exceed 5’ in height. Clusters of tiny, lavender-pink, pea-like flowers bloom for 2-3 weeks in early spring (April) before the foliage emerges. Heart-shaped foliage with pointed tips emerges in spring with red tinting, matures to a dull, dark blue-green and finally turns yellow in fall. This weeping redbud was discovered growing at the private residence of Connie Covey in Westfield, New York, in 1991. U. S. Plant Patent PP10,328 was issued for ‘Covey’ on April 14, 1998. The patent owner subsequently registered LAVENDER TWIST as a U.S. trademark on February 15, 2000, and ‘Covey’ is now commonly sold by nurseries today under the trade name of LAVENDER TWIST. It should be noted, however, that the Royal Horticultural Society continues to list both ‘Convey’ and ‘Lavender Twist’ separately as tentatively accepted names.

Problems

Canker can be a significant disease problem. Verticillium wilt, dieback, leaf spots, mildew and blights may also occur. Insect pests include Japanese beetles, tree hoppers, leaf hoppers, caterpillars, borers, webworms and scale. Keeping the tree vigorous by regular watering and fertilization and by pruning out dead branches as needed will help keep the tree healthy.

Garden Uses

Small weeping specimen for patio areas or small gardens. Twisted arching branches are particularly attractive on slopes or cascading over walls.