Cercis 'Merlot'

Overall plant
Common Name: redbud 
Type: Tree
Family: Fabaceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 12.00 to 15.00 feet
Spread: 12.00 to 15.00 feet
Bloom Time: March to April
Bloom Description: Purple-pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Street Tree, Flowering Tree
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Leaf: Colorful
Tolerate: Deer, Clay Soil, Black Walnut


Grow 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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Cercis is a genus of around 10 species of shrubs and trees native to North America, Europe, and Asia. Several species and hybrids are common in cultivation and are typically grown for their showy blooms.

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.

'Merlot' is a hybrid redbud selection that features colorful foliage and a showy display of purple-pink blooms in early spring. This cultivar is a second generation (F2) hybrid that resulted from crossing seedlings of Cercis canadensis var. texensis 'Texas White' × C. canadensis 'Forest Pansy'. Mature plants will reach up to 15' tall with a similar spread and take on a densely branched, compact, upright to semi-upright growth habit. The glossy, heart-shaped leaves will reach around 5" long with an equal width. The foliage emerges in spring with dark purple shades before maturing to maroon and then a dark olive green by mid-summer. Fall color is typically shades of yellow. This plant is protected by patent number PP22297.


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, fertilization and pruning out dead branches as needed will help keep the tree healthy. Deer tend to avoid this plant.


Specimen or small groups. Lawns, shrub borders, woodland margins, or along patios. Street tree or lawn tree. Attractive in naturalized settings.