The redbud tree is native to eastern North America and is striking in wooded areas where its reddish-purple flowers grow, closely and tightly aligned on slender stems, before the leaves unfold in spring. The distinctly heart-shaped green leaves are six inches across. It is a graceful and small tree, with spreading, slightly drooping branches. Height at maturity is approximately 20 to 30 feet.
How to grow: Plant young trees in the spring in well-drained soil in sun or partial shade. Thin upper branches if lower ones are struggling from lack of light under a dense canopy.
Uses: An easy and attractive choice as a single specimen or in groups. Select the flowering trees from your own region because the hardiness varies with trees originating in more northern or more southern locations.
Related species: Cercis chinensis is similar in form but is smaller (ten feet) and a little showier in flower.
Scientific name: Cercis canadensis