Cercis chinensis

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: Chinese redbud
Type: Tree
Family: Fabaceae
Native Range: Central China
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 8.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Rosy purple
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, 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. Dislikes dry soils and heavy clays. Develops a long tap root over time, which makes transplanting of established trees difficult. Not reliably winter hardy to the St. Louis area where it should be planted in a protected location with a thick mulch.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cercis chinensis, commonly called Chinese redbud, is native to woodlands, thickets and slopes in central to southern China. This tree will grow to as much as 50' tall in its native habitat, but in cultivation in the U.S. it usually grows much smaller as an open, densely branched, multi-stemmed shrub or small tree to 8-15' tall. It is somewhat similar in appearance to Cercis canadensis which is native to eastern and central North America, except Chinese redbud has larger rose-purple flowers, glossier leaves, longer seed pods, shorter mature height, variable but usually less attractive fall color and lesser winter cold hardiness. Notwithstanding these differences, the two species can sometimes be difficult to distinguish. Clusters of tiny, rose-purple, pea-like flowers bloom profusely on the stems and branches for 2-3 weeks in early spring (March-April) before the foliage emerges. Rounded, leathery, heart-shaped green leaves (to 5" long) are attractive during the growing season. At their best, leaves will turn a respectable yellow in fall. Pendulous, flat, bean-like, seed pods (to 5” long) mature in late summer.

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 means of China.

Problems

Chinese redbud seems to be less affected by the common diseases and pests of our native redbud. Susceptible to winter damage and/or kill in the St. Louis area, particularly if sited in exposed areas.

Garden Uses

Excellent shrub for lawns, woodland gardens, shrub borders or naturalized areas. Effective planted as a specimen or in groups. Frequently planted as a street shrub/tree in residential areas. Large containers or tubs.