Featured Tree: Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

By: Nick Schreiber

Redbud Form

Nothing says spring like flowers in Minnesota. If you’re looking for a tree to flourish with flowers come spring, Eastern redbud, Cercis canadensis, is a fantastic choice for your front yard. Its diminutive stature, up to 35 feet tall, allows for placement in even small yards and in ones with power lines going over them. Its cold hardiness zones are 4-9. Since Minnesota is the northern limit of its range in the Midwest, Eastern redbud should be planted in the southern half of state. Cold hardy varieties or genotypes are preferable in Minnesota. The tree has been known to survive as far north as Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Redbud Flowers

Eastern redbud is an ornamental tree with heart shaped leaves. Bark appears reddish-brown to brown giving it a distinctive appearance particularly in the winter. Spring flowers are dark pink to purple. Flowers appear before leaves starting in early April. After pollination, pea pods 1 to 3 inches form. Birds, squirrels and other mammals feed on the seeds. In the fall, the leaves turn a brilliant yellow

Redbud Bark and Trunk


Eastern redbud prefers light shade to full sun. Moist, well-drained soils result in the best growth.

Very wet or dry and hot locations are not suitable. Therefore, heavy clay soils that are poorly drained should be avoided as well as southern and western aspects.

Eastern redbud is generally short lived tree, living 50 to 70 years. The tree is prone to cankers that can disfigure the tree and Verticillium wilt, a fungal disease.

These diseases can shorten the tree’s lifespan. Adequate sunlight and moisture can prevent such diseases.




All photos and references are used for educational purposes only.


1) Andy David. Associate Professor and interim Director of Operations for the Cloquet Forestry Center and Hubachek Wilderness Research Center University of Minnesota. Personal Communication, August 2016.

2) Arbor Day Foundation. “Eastern Redbud.” 2016. http://bit.ly/2rj3Da0

3) Lake Forest College. “Cercis canadensis (Redbud) Fabaceae (Leguminosae).” http://bit.ly/2rvQJBM

4) University of Florida IFAS Extension. “Cercis canadensis: Eastern Redbud.” http://bit.ly/2pxbkox

5) Mark H. Brand. “Eastern Redbud.” 2015. University of Connecticut. http://bit.ly/2rvJmdW


1) Mark H. Brand. University of Connecticut. http://hort.uconn.edu/plantPhotos/cercan13.jpg

2) Mark H. Brand. University of Connecticut. http://hort.uconn.edu/plantPhotos/cercan01.jpg

3) Mark H. Brand. University of Connecticut. http://hort.uconn.edu/plantPhotos/cercan81.jpg