The Eastern Redbud is a beautiful small, flowering tree that graces any yard it has the pleasure to be planted or in nearby woodlands where it typically accompanies flowering dogwood and serviceberry. The Redbud is one of our early spring flowering trees that dominates the landscape with dark pink blossoms and heart shaped leaves spring through fall, and although a small tree it has a presence. New cultivars are especially appealing for their multi-season interest of attractive foliage and weeping habits.
Whitewater Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Whitewater’) is a brightly variegated white and green weeping tree that matures to about eight feet tall with a six foot wide spread. It is a broadly weeping tree that is beautiful in all seasons, flowering in spring, variegated foliage throughout the summer into fall, and interesting form in the winter months, especially in the snow. New foliage comes out white with green flecks that mature to being mostly green with white flecks.
The other weeper to be mentioned is Ruby Falls Weeping Redbud (C. canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’), growing in similar size to Whitewater, but with foliage emerging burgundy and holding the color until late summer finally maturing to green. Along with Whitewater, these trees are well suited for the smaller garden needing a small accent for multiple seasons. The Eastern Redbuds are not well suited for the islands, the tree is not tolerant of salt and wind, especially salt flooding, perhaps in a well-protected spot they may do well, but do practice caution in site selection.
The Redbud that steals the show in my opinion is The Rising Sun (C. canadensis The Rising Sun). The new foliage in spring emerges gold, maturing to a lime green in summer with the new growth on all the stems continuing to emerge in shades of orange, yellow, and gold. The new foliage appears to be floating and gives the tree a wonderful dimension. It will grow into a small size of fifteen feet wide and tall, with good heat tolerance.
There are many plants that come and go through the garden center with new varieties being marketed as the next, new thing, The Rising Sun is one of those that plants truly holds its own and worth investing the years into watching it grow. All three Redbuds mentioned in this article are currently available for sale at our garden center, along with other beautifully flowering plants that can find a home in your garden!