The 'Forest Pansy' Redbud Tree

I love Eastern Redbud trees (Cercis canadensis) and Chinese Redbud.  They add graciousness to any garden and celebrate Spring in style !

In early Spring these compact trees (around 15 to 30 feet tall) sport clusters of flowers, usually rosy pink with a purplish tinge, along the length of their branches before the leaves emerge.

They can be multi-stemmed with graceful ascending branches or single trunk. Their canopy is a spreading and rounded crown.
( Chinese Redbud tree - photo by Jan Johnsen)

Eastern Redbuds are a native tree commonly found in growing zones 5-9. In zone 6 where I live, I find they do best on a eastern facing slope, protected from harsh afternoon sun and north winds.

Canker can be a disease problem, prune off dying branches as soon as you see them so it does not spread. Important!

Chinese Redbud, in cultivation in the U.S., usually grows as an open, multi-stemmed shrub from 8-15' tall. It is similar to our native redbud but may be less hardy here. Its flowers are amazing though.

There are several lovely varieties of Eastern Redbud  including 'Royal White', 'Tennessee Pink' and a weeping form called 'Covey'. My favorite is the red leaved 'Forest Pansy.'

( Forest Pansy Redbud tree - photo by Jan Johnsen)

'Forest Pansy' Redbud is a four season tree.

In spring its long-lasting profusion of bright purplish-pink is followed by heart-shaped, blood-red leaves. These leaves emerge glossy red and turn a purple-tinged green later in the year.

 Its autumn color is a blend of red, purples and yellow.

In winter the tree's zigzaging branches form a graceful structure and adds interest to any landscape.

( Forest Pansy Redbud tree - photo by Jan Johnsen)

Redbuds need sunlight in order to flower. Place it where it will receive at least six hours of sunlight. Eight to 12 hours of sunlight is even better but it thrives where it gets some dappled afternoon shade.

It is tolerant of pollution and is often planted along highways and streets. It tolerates a wide range of soils but not soggy conditions.

The Forest Pansy Redbud adds interest to a cottage garden, a Zen garden or an English flower garden. I like it best in a grouping on a hillside. I planted 3 together here - note the iris blooming in the foreground.  I also planted yellow daylilies behind it  on the slope for contrast in summer.

( Forest Pansy Redbud tree - photo by Jan Johnsen)

Redbuds are a true harbinger of Spring - plant one today!


  1. Jan, I'm loving your blog! I wish I had your talent with plants. I don't think I've ever seen a Forest Pansy Rosebud tree. They're beautiful. I'd love to have one in my backyard. Can I find this at my local nursery?

  2. Beautiful photos of a beautiful tree. I purchased one for my garden 5 years ago but it promptly died. I think it needed more sun than my garden provides.

  3. Yes, you can find them at a local nursery but they go quickly so you must order them or get them now in the beginning of the season. We planted a beautiful one just yesterday and our expert plant tagger had to move fast to grab the one she liked...the plantaholics are out!

    'They' say that redbud is a shade tree but I have found that it needs sun up here in the Northeast...stagnant air or shady dank places seem to contribute to Redbud problems...

  4. Jan, My Forest Pansy Redbud has been doing so well; now all of a sudden a few leaves have holes in the them; a few are turning yellow, yet the rest of the tree looks really healthy. I am in Houston; it was an extreme winter, now it's already in the 90's been very humid and raining. What do you think is up? I can send a photo if you tell me where to send to. Thanks. Pam Please email me at:

  5. Home Depot has "Forest Pansy" for $69 and $99.

  6. Well its lovely to find your sweet place here... I am a huge lover of this elegant tree too. I hope you don't mind, but a just linked your blog from mine to show people your wonderful place, so they too can enjoy your fabulous sharing of knowledge!
    MamaHick x

  7. red buds are finicky...too much heat, cold or water will upset them....


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