Western Redbud, California Redbud

Cercis occidentalis

Family: Caesalpiniaceae (ses-al-pin-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Cercis (SER-sis) (Info)
Species: occidentalis (ok-sih-den-TAY-liss) (Info)



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 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)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:

Magenta (Pink-Purple)

Bloom Time:

Late Winter/Early Spring

Mid Spring



Provides winter interest

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:


Prescott, Arizona

Huntington, Arkansas

Acton, California

Altadena, California

Anaheim, California

Bonsall, California

Bootjack, California (2 reports)

Boulder Creek, California

Castro Valley, California

Chico, California (2 reports)

Corning, California

Elk Grove, California

Fairfield, California

Fresno, California

Granite Bay, California

Groveland-big Oak Flat, California

Huntington Beach, California

Igo, California

Knights Landing, California

Lakewood, California

Long Beach, California

Merced, California

Montgomery Creek, California

Napa, California

Newark, California

Orangevale, California

Paradise, California

Ridgecrest, California

Sacramento, California

San Jose, California

Santa Ynez, California

Simi Valley, California

Woodland, California

Sterling, Colorado

Sheldon, Missouri

Wauneta, Nebraska

Belton, Texas

Dallas, Texas

El Paso, Texas

Lampasas, Texas

Mason, Texas

Dammeron Valley, Utah

Anacortes, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Dec 7, 2015, islandgurlc2 from Anacortes, WA wrote:

Last winter (2014) my neighbor received 5 American Redbud (Eastern Redbud) cercis canadensis cut-branch starts from The Arbor Day Foundation; Lincoln, Nebraska. She gave them to me because she's in a rental property.
The Tree description literature says: It grows at a medium rate of 20'-30' tall with a 30' spread. Small rosy pink spring flowers are followed by reddish-purple tinged leaves gradually change to a lustrous green in summer and a striking yellow in fall. The shiny reddish brown 2"-3" seed pods remain on the tree throughout winter.

I'm not so quick to just stick a tree in my soil & wish for the best, so I put these starts in large nursery pots. One of them became very large in a year and I fell in love with the beautiful heart shaped leaves. (surfmurf from ... read more


On Feb 27, 2015, CBT from Fairfield, CA wrote:

Plant has grown wonderfully here in the Fairfield, CA area. Its been in the ground for about 20 years, planted in full sun. Doesn't receive any special attention other than the rare deep watering during hot spells, and pruning to shape. Tree is about 12' in height and width. It has multiple trunks which I keep trimmed bare to about 6' above ground, the upper 6' I keep pruned to a canopy shape. It is due for a good interior trimming this winter. It blooms beautifully, and develops a nice green canopy. It does tend to bloom about 2 weeks later than others in this area; not sure why. I fed it a couple times during the first 3 years and haven't since. I will probably feed it next spring. The only negative is related to the way it is shaped, as the canopy style has led to a split... read more


On Oct 4, 2013, surfmurf from between Clearwater & Largo, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Saw a fantastic picture of what was listed as ""Western redbud". It appeared to be a VINE, it was climbing the trunk of a large old oak(?) and clearly is not a bush or a tree (in this pic), but I could not find any further info on this picture. Here is the link to the photo /photos/[email protected]/5871677702/ and there is another picture in the next photo. Is that not a vine? Or are my old eyes tricking me? I am in Florida Zone 10a (since 2009), formerly 9b (before 2009). Anyone know if it will grow here in Clearwater, Largo, St. Petersburg, FL area ? ? ? As a Vine? I see it listed over much of California and in Texas & Arkansas. Should be able to grow here - unless the humidity and / or temperature is too high in... read more


On Jul 30, 2013, Alcuin from Anaheim, CA wrote:

It also grows in Anaheim, CA


On Aug 31, 2011, charityh from Arden-Arcade, CA wrote:

I was wondering would these trees be alright or suitable to be planted right by a wall like about two feet away from there. Any possible issues with roots and the house foundation?


On Jan 24, 2011, diggerdane from Fennville, MI wrote:

How successful is this species in the eastern zones? Is it superior to c. canadensis in any way other than drought tolerance? By the way, I've has the best success with seeds grown in the ground, never transplanted. Seems to be something to do with an undisturbed taproot.


On Jan 24, 2011, RoseofCimarron from Sterling, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:

Back @ keferraro--I live in zone 5a and last Spring I spotted several trees of this variety growing in town here along the street--no doubt a project of the city. They were at least 7' tall, in glorious bloom and are still going strong. I'd say they do well at least to 5a!


On Jan 24, 2011, keferraro from Crown Point, IN wrote:

Although DG lists this as down to zone 5a, the vendors list it to 7 or higher. Has anyone had sucess in colder climates?


On May 1, 2008, Hoveman from Montgomery Creek, CA wrote:

I have succeeded in propogating western redbud by collecting the seed pods in late summer or fall, burning them partially with a match, then planting them directly into small pots that I leave outside throughout the winter. Western redbud has a very long tap root, so once they begin to grow in the spring I transplant them quickly to larger pots and keep them watered throughout the summer. Once planted in the ground, water regularly for the first year or two until established.


On Mar 8, 2008, peachespickett from Huntington, AR wrote:

Brought back a few plants I started from seed when I moved from the Sierras to Arkansas four years ago. Planted my Western redbuds in 50/50 sand/ gravel mix in a raised rock bed, with some large rocks thrown in for good measure. Grew like crazy once I got 'em out of the pots, now about 4 feet tall, branching with several stems from base. Doing fantastic despite huge amounts of rain, intense humidity and ice storms. Very pretty little leaves compared to other redbuds.


On Apr 7, 2007, marystem from Napa, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Plant this tree where it will receive some backlighting to light up the beautiful leaves.


On Oct 15, 2004, sparsonsusa from Castro Valley, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This is an excellent alternative to the more common Eastern Redbud. The Western Redbud is drought tolerant while the Eastern Redbud prefers regular water. Water regularly the first year, but in following years, water rarely in summer. However, you can speed growth by watering weekly in summer. The leaves are beautiful. Some people find the seed pods ugly.

This species is difficult to buy in the SF East Bay. Mainstream nurserys are unable to get it. If you do find it, make sure it says Cersis Occidentalis on the tag. Some claim Western Redbud, yet they aren't. There is no substitute for a drought-tolerant native! I've spotted wild Western Redbuds along the congested Nimitz Freeway in Union City. Heck, if it could thrive there, it can thrive anywhere in California.


On Sep 13, 2004, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

We love this tree. It provides year around interest and colour, and is extremely drought tolerant. The seed pods are collected in the fall, picked from the tree when completely dry and transparent. A very slow grower.


On Apr 21, 2003, Bug_Girl from San Francisco, CA wrote:

This is a very attractive large shurb or a small tree that is tolerant of clay soil. It likes full sun and regular summer water. The flowers emerge before the leaves. The tree needs a winter chill for the flower buds to set properly.