Spring in many ways is just like listening to your favorite song. The parts of the song that make it special to you are those that make you replay it countless times over and over again. The chorus of springtime is very much the same. Old favorites pop up again and again for us to enjoy. One of my favorite trees here in Tennessee is the redbud (Cercis canadensis). It’s native to our area and blooms prolifically in the spring. There are areas of our state where the redbuds grow in such quantities that you feel like you are inside of a painting. Nature’s artwork is hard to top!
It’s a special tree to others as well. Pollinators love the spring time blooms. Once they are in bloom it is hard to go near them without hearing a constant buzz from the bees as they gather pollen. Redbuds are actually a legume and produce seeds in pods each fall. Those seeds are the best way to propagate new redbud trees as it not only insures genetic diversity but (in this garden blogger’s opinion) really is the easiest method! When the seeds are removed from the pod they will need cold stratification for a couple months. You may also need to nick the seed coat to allow water to penetrate inside. That will speed up germination significantly.
One other seed starting tip: soak the seeds before planting about 24 hours.
Many redbuds are grafted onto a seed grown root stock. This is the best way to reproduce special varieties that cannot be reproduced from seed.
Redbuds are an understory tree, and while in some cases they can take a good deal of sun, they prefer partial sun. Morning sun and afternoon shade is perfect! Some redbud varieties, like ‘Forest Pansy’, have colored foliage that will eventually fade back to green in the heat of the spring. Because of their smaller size they are a great choice for small backyards and usually top out at around 20-30 feet. Redbuds can be grown in hardiness zones 5-8.
Do you grow redbuds in your garden?