Cercis, Canadian Redbud, Eastern Redbud, Judas Tree 'Forest Pansy'

Cercis canadensis

Family: Fabaceae (fab-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cercis (SER-sis) (Info)
Species: canadensis (ka-na-DEN-sis) (Info)
Cultivar: Forest Pansy
View this plant in a garden



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Foliage Color:



15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

20-30 ft. (6-9 m)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From softwood cuttings

By air layering

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Chino Valley, Arizona

Little Rock, Arkansas

Castro Valley, California

La Jolla, California

Oxnard, California

Redlands, California

San Anselmo, California

Santa Maria, California

Temecula, California

Fort Collins, Colorado

Dover, Delaware

Bartow, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

Miami, Florida

Pensacola, Florida

Clarkesville, Georgia

Danielsville, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois(2 reports)

Westfield, Indiana

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Georgetown, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Smiths Grove, Kentucky

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Bordelonville, Louisiana

Evans, Louisiana

Baltimore, Maryland

Easton, Maryland

Frederick, Maryland

West Friendship, Maryland

Newtonville, Massachusetts

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Florence, Mississippi

Olive Branch, Mississippi

Vicksburg, Mississippi

Brunswick, Missouri

Moberly, Missouri

Dunkirk, New York

Apex, North Carolina(2 reports)

Burlington, North Carolina

Columbus, North Carolina

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Fayetteville, North Carolina

Highlands, North Carolina

Pinehurst, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Washington, North Carolina

Cincinnati, Ohio

Glouster, Ohio

Mansfield, Ohio

Norman, Oklahoma

Owasso, Oklahoma

Beaverton, Oregon

Cheshire, Oregon

Eagle Point, Oregon

Indiana, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Schwenksville, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Greenville, South Carolina

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Bulls Gap, Tennessee

Clarksville, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee(2 reports)

Nashville, Tennessee

Pocahontas, Tennessee

Toone, Tennessee

Alice, Texas

Arlington, Texas

Bryan, Texas

Dallas, Texas(2 reports)

Houston, Texas(2 reports)

Richmond, Texas

Rowlett, Texas

Vidor, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

South Jordan, Utah

Tremonton, Utah

Fairfax, Virginia

Lexington, Virginia

Norfolk, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia

Roanoke, Virginia

Staunton, Virginia

Waverly, Virginia

Ahtanum, Washington

Bainbridge Island, Washington

Edmonds, Washington

Esperance, Washington

Mossyrock, Washington

Union Gap, Washington

Watertown, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 2, 2015, Carolsflowers from Brunswick, MO (Zone 5a) wrote:

I like Forest Pansy & have 1 along with several other redbuds and whitebuds. Mine do not seem to have many disease or insect problems.

But, in central Missouri they are brittle, narrow crotched, and produce a lot of seedlings.


On Feb 2, 2015, isabel95 from Hendersonville, NC wrote:

Let me preface this comment by saying I am not speaking about this specific variety, but about the redbuds our "landscaper" put in several years ago, for which I unfortunately have no ID.

While beautiful in bloom, they produced an overabundance of seeds which started redbuds all over our property and I could have spent every day all summer removing the seedlings and still not removed all of them. We had a similar experience with a river birch tree, which we also removed.

Because of the tendency of OUR redbuds to reproduce we decided to have them removed.


On Feb 16, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The purple foliage color is fantastic. It loses some of its intensity and greens up a bit in the heat of the summer, but it's still good even then. Not much fall color.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given this cultivar its coveted Award of Garden Merit.

This cultivar is definitely less hardy than plants of more northern provenance. We sometimes plant it here (Boston Z6a) knowing that there's a substantial risk (I'd estimate 50/50) that it will die before establishing. And well-established trees also sometimes die over the winter, more often than the species.


On Jun 2, 2012, BJames1 from Elizabeth City, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I really like this tree. It is certainly one of the better purple/red/burgundy/maroon-leaved small trees available in commerce. There are major flaws, unfortunately. Every personal experience with this tree has ended in grief. Unless efforts are taken towards developing a structurally sound trunking arrangement, an awkward branching structure will develop resulting in major wind damage. The last tree I had on my property literally split right down the middle during the last big wind storm. I suspect it may have been grafted with the graft resulting in the abnormal development of core branches. Redbuds in general are also quite susceptible to a wide array of diseases with most detrimental to long-term health.

The flowering display is great, and the emerging leaves are a wonde... read more


On Feb 26, 2010, certified from Moberly, MO wrote:

I love my 'Forest Pansy' redbud. From the stunning color to the beautiful shape, nothing else can compare. My tree is 5 years old, about 15' tall, but I've never noticed it bloom in zone 5a. I'll add acidic mulch to it this year and see if that makes a change.


On Oct 20, 2009, Phyllis_LeBlanc from Vidor, TX wrote:

When I purchased mine the leaves were a beautiful purple. However, after the hurricane blew through it broke the small tree in half but did not break it into. I stood it back up and secured it in hopes it would one day mend it's self. It put out leaves and was carring on with life the way redbuds do, even it laying on the ground on their sides. Well another storm came through and broke the damaged part off of the tree. I felt for sure that it would die, but alas leaves apeared. One problem, the are a deep green, not purple!!!!! How can this be? The leaves are beautiful and healthy, but green! Are these trees grafted? If anyone can enlighten me I would appreciate it, as they are expensive and my heart is sad because I loved this purple tree!

Sweet "P"


On Oct 20, 2009, tufe from Newtonville, MA wrote:

This is an incredible redbud. I've read that Forest Pansy doesn't bloom as well as others, but I'm happy with it. In fact, this year the flowering was very good. The leaves, though, are the main reason to obtain one. They are so beautiful! I would never be without it--it puts the others to shame. One possible problem--the branches seem really weak and will break off with a heavy snow. Perhaps all redbuds are like that, though.


On Oct 19, 2009, cheerpeople from northwest, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I bought this from local seller ( zone 5) that had it semi-protected on the South side of a building. Not sure if it died in my garden due to her chopping the roots off that had grown extensively from the bottom of the pot, or if it is just marginally hardy in zone 5a. Either way- it died, so I'm giving it a neutral rating. I have the common redbud which does just fine for me.


On Oct 19, 2009, tinyard from Baltimore, MD wrote:

This tree was recommended to me by a horticulturist and a landscape architect and named was 'Tree of the Year' soon after. It is beautiful and provides wonderful shade in my tiny yard. It does require regular pruning, as it sprouts new branches, and new branch-lets on those, all summer long. Unlike the more familiar redbuds, the growth is in all directions, creating crossed branches. Because it grows so fast, these need modest pruning during the season AND again before spring to avoid having to cut thick branches to control overall shape. I love this tree in spite of the pruning and tendency to narrow crotches. Sitting beneath it as sunlight turns the leafy canopy to stained glass is magical!


On Jul 6, 2009, 1234singer from New Minas,
Canada wrote:

I live in a Zone 5 in Nova Scotia, Canada, and my Eastern Redbud is doing very well! Sometimes I notice some broken limbs after winter has passed and spring has arrived, but overall this is my favourite tree on my property. I read that it requires some shelter, but I have an open property with no large trees for a canopy and it has survived!! I thoroughly enjoy looking forward every spring to the colourful flowers followed by the many heart-shaped leaves! A true winner in my eyes!


On May 4, 2009, bekados from Pensacola, FL wrote:

Gorgeous little tree. Several planted in the park close to my home. Stopped in my tracks by the lovely spring color.


On Jan 15, 2009, catcollins from West Friendship, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:

We have a serious Japanese Beetle problem here in central Maryland. They are definitely attracted to purple-leaved trees in this area. This variety opens burgundy but then greens out before the beetles arrive and 'Purple Pansy" proceeds through the summer untouched. Color returns for the fall. Large heart-shaped leaves are charming and the vase shape perfectly accommodates a bench underneath.

Slow to plow through the clay layer in Central Maryland, but well worth the wait. Do not cover the graft joint.

We love these so much, we planted 3!


On May 20, 2008, JuniorMintKiss from Tremonton, UT (Zone 6a) wrote:

I just barely identified this tree at my place and I'm glad I did because now I can call it something else besides my umbrella tree. ;)
Seriously, this tree is a delight to have. It does extremely well in our sandy soil and the flowers are so delicate and beautiful. Easy to maintain. If I had it my way, I'd have some more...


On Feb 9, 2008, snowleopard77 from Apex, NC (Zone 8a) wrote:

I planted 2 of these in my garden. They were about 5 ft tall when I bought them and this will be the first year they will bloom so I am waiting to see what they look like and they have grown allot in 1 full season


On Feb 20, 2006, nokamoto from Seattle, WA wrote:

Here in Seattle, my tree has grown well but the wood is brittle and prone to breaking if we have wet, windy weather. Compounding the problem is how tight the tree crotches grow, holding moisture and causing rot. At 6 years old and approx. 15 feet high, it's been held together with straps and Gorilla Glue for the last two years since splitting in half to a foot about the ground. I would site this tree out of windy areas, and prune for trunk strength as well as to lighten the leaf canopy. Also, fall color varies but most often the leaf color is an ugly maroon-brown with sickly yellow patches.


On Jan 28, 2006, rcn48 from Lexington, VA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Originally found as a seedling in 1947 at Forest Nursery, McMinnville, TN. Spectacular shimmering red-purple foliage loses its intense color by mid summer. Flowers are a more intense rose-purple and a little later blooming than the species. Vigorous grower! The picture posted is of a young tree planted a year and a half ago. It will double in size in just a couple years. Maximum height will reach about 20-30' high.

From Michael Dirr's Manual of Woody Landscape Plants:
"One of my favorites for colored foliage and I do not rate too many purple leaf plants among my top 1000"


On May 23, 2005, DiOhio from Corning, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This tree can be fairly invasive. I have seedlings coming up in all of my flowerbeds. It has a taproot to China even as a very young tree so if you don't pull first year seedlings they're very difficult to remove. With that said, it is still one of my favorite trees. They are beautiful blooming in the spring, have lovely heart-shaped foliage all summer long and are also host plant to many different species of moth.


On Mar 24, 2005, drdon from Temecula, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This small tree has been fairly rewarding here. We give the two we have a bit of midday shade under a Southern Magnolia. Leaves have a tendency to burn at the margins during conditions of high winds combined with low humidity. It has shown itself as a sturdy plant even in our extreme summer heat.


On Jun 13, 2004, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Bartow, Florida is just about as far south as they will grow and bloom. Most colorful in mid February.


On Jun 11, 2004, lady_fuchsia from Clarkesville, GA (Zone 7a) wrote:

I love this tree! The leaves are a fantastic burgandy and the blooms are a vibrant hot pink.


On Aug 30, 2002, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A singularly beautiful variety of Redbud, and should be grown more often.