Texas Redbud Tree

Texas Redbud Tree, Why plant them

Texas redbud tree is an intriguing native of North American also known as, the  (Cercis canadensis var. texensis). Its renowned for its spectacular springtime display of vivid pink to purple blossoms.


In addition to its eye-catching blossoms, this deciduous tree is popular in Texas and other Southern US states due to its flexibility and ornamental appeal. With the botanical name of Cercis canadensis var. texensis, Texas redbud is a wonderful accent tree with beautiful rose-pink flowers in early spring. Different species of Texas redbud can be found (natively) in Oklahoma, Northeastern Mexico and Central Texas.


It grows to 20-30 feet (6-9m) tall with a spread of 26-33 feet (8-10m). Texas redbud has a short, twisted trunk and spreading branches. The bark is smooth black, and later develops maroon ridges. The twigs are slender and zigzag, almost black in color. During winter, the buds are tiny, rounded and dark red in color. The leaves are alternate, thin, hairy underneath, and heart shaped, 3-4.5m (7-12cm) in length and width. They turn clear yellow in autumn.


The light to dark pink flowers are 1.5cm long and appear in clusters from spring to early summer. The long-tongued bees help with pollination. It produces 5-10cm long pea-like brown fruits containing brown seeds, 6mm long. The fruits are full grown by mid- summer and fall in early summer.


When massed or grouped, redbuds provide lush, vibrant color to any landscape. The edible flowers and nutritious seeds have been an excellent source of nourishment to the Native Americans, who also use the twigs to weave baskets. In Mexico, the flowers are often fried and sometimes pickled to use in salads. Their nectar is a source of honey and supports a specialized bee, the ‘Habropoda laboriosa’. They are also a larval host to the ‘Henry’s Elfin’ species of butterfly. The bark of the tree contains a fluid that acts as an effective astringent. The botanical name, ‘Cercis,’ is derived from the Greek word “keris”, meaning “weaver’s shuttle,” due to the resemblance of the seed pods to a shuttle used to move thread on a loom. ‘Canadensis’ is the word for Canada, and ‘Texensis’ refers to the ‘Texas’ redbud variety.


The Texas redbud tree has the following salient characteristics and details:


Flowers: The tree’s profusion of springtime blooms is its most noticeable feature. Before the leaves emerge in the spring, clusters of tiny, pea-like blooms with colors ranging from pale pink to deep magenta cover the branches. The Texas redbud is a beneficial addition to pollinator gardens because of the pollinators that the flowers draw, such as bees and butterflies.


  • Fruit: After the flowers fade, the tree produces flat, reddish-brown seedpods, about 2 to 4 inches long. These pods persist throughout the summer and add to the tree’s visual appeal.
  • Adaptability: Texas redbuds are well-suited for a variety of landscapes. They thrive in full sun to partial shade, making them adaptable to different growing conditions. They can tolerate drought once established. However, they perform best with regular watering.
  • Landscaping Use: The Texas redbud is an obvious choice for landscaping in Texas and other parts of the Southern United States. It works well as a standalone ornamental tree, in group plantings, or as part of a mixed border. The vibrant spring blooms make it a standout feature in any garden.
  • Wildlife Attraction: Apart from attracting pollinators, the Texas redbud provides shelter and food for various wildlife species. Birds often use the tree for nesting, and the wildlife like squirrels and deer consume the seeds.
  • Pruning: Pruning is generally minimal for Texas redbuds. You can remove dead or crossing branches during the dormant season to maintain an attractive shape and encourage flowering.
  • Cultural Significance: The Texas redbud is popular in Texas and the surrounding regions as a symbol of spring’s arrival. It’s also the state’s state tree, known as “the Lone Star Tree.”


Propagation & Planting:

Although Texas Redbud will adapt to a variety of soil types, it prefers limestone or clay loam soils found in its native habitat. It tolerates thin, poor soil and drought better than the Eastern Redbud and appears more attractive when provided with partial protection from the intense summer afternoon sun. The tree needs 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily and well-drained soil with a neutral pH between 6.6 to 7.3.

The planting area should be completely free of weeds, and organic material can help the soil drain more effectively. Majority of nearby garden stores sell trees that have been grown in planters. Dig a hole for planting that is two times wide and twice as deep as the base of the ball. Drop the tree cautiously into the dugout after any tied roots have loosened, ensuring that the collar of the root stays close to the ground. Fill the hole halfway with soil and watered well. When the water has been absorbed, add soil, and water the tree again thoroughly, ensuring the soil has settled.


A three-inch layer of mulch should be placed around the tree, at least 4 inches away from the trunk. Trees can be planted in spring, fall, or winter, but it is best not to plant during the heat of summer. Redbud trees should be spaced at least 15 feet apart if growing into a row. They are easy to grow from seed, directly sown outdoors in fall. Before planting, the seed should be nicked and soaked overnight. Provide a 45-day period of cold (41 degrees Fahrenheit) for the seed to stratify and germinate. Although Texas redbud tree cuttings are difficult to root, young seedlings at the base, are easily uprooted for transplanting.


Plant Care:


Texas redbuds should be watered regularly during the first few years, especially during drought conditions. Newly planted trees need watering twice a week for the first month and then once a week until fully established. Mature trees are drought tolerant but look better if watered regularly. The surrounding soil should be allowed to dry between each watering.


How to Fertilize Texas Redbud Tree:

Apply a balanced, slow-release 10-10-10 fertilizer once a year in the early spring to the Texas Redbud for best results. Before applying fertilizer, it is crucial to carefully read, understand and adhere to the instructions on the packaging label.



Redbuds do not typically require pruning except for the removal of dead, crossed, or crowded branches. The best time to prune the tree is in spring immediately, the blooming period is over.


Pest & Disease:

Redbuds can be afflicted by canker fungi. The trees are most susceptible when under stress from heat and drought. Canker, for which there is no control, cuts off the flow of nutrients to the limbs and trunk. Remove the affected limbs immediately. Borers and web worms are attracted to trees with stress or in decline. Control bores and worms with an insecticide or soil treatment recommended by a local nursery professional or arborist and used according to the directions on the product label. Rub away scale insects with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.


Common Q&A on Texas Redbud Tree


Q1. What is a Texas redbud tree?

A1. A native of Texas and the Southern United States, the Texas redbud tree (Cercis canadensis var. texensis) is a deciduous tree. It is well-known for its colorful, early-spring pink to purple flowers.


Q2. When do they grow best?

A2. Texas redbud grows best in late winter or early spring.


Q3. Where do they grow best?

A3. Despite the fact that Texas redbud can withstand different climate conditions, Texas redbud trees prefer full exposure to sunshine or partial shade, 6-8hrs per day.


Q4. What height may a Texas redbud tree reach?

A4. Texas redbud trees typically attain heights of 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters), while they can occasionally reach heights of 30 feet (9 meters).


Q5. When do redbud trees in Texas bloom?

A5. Typically, Texas redbud tree blooms before the leaves emerge in the spring. This tree is known for its stunning display of pink to purple blossoms.


Q6. What is the growth rate of Texas redbud trees?

A6. Texas redbud trees have a moderate growth rate of between 4’-10’ in a span of 5-6 years.


Q7. How long is the life span of Texas redbud trees?

A7. The trees live for approximately 50-70 years, given good health.


Q8. Can Texas redbud trees grow from cuttings?

A8. Without a doubt. Until planting time, keep the cuttings submerged in water. Remove any leaves from the bottom half of each cutting, trim the ends at a 45-degree angle, and then dip them in a rooting hormone.


Q9. What do they symbolize?

A9. They symbolize love due to their heart shape. The sight of the first redbud flowers also indicate the warmer days are approaching.


Q10. What are the uses of redbud trees?

A10. The roots and inner bark of the tree are medicinal and are remedies for cold, sore throats, skin infections, congestion, fever and vomiting. The twigs and flowers can be used in tea, and fried flowers are edible. Texas redbud timber is used in different woodworking applications like gunstocks, decorative bowls, knife handles and veneer.


Q11. Are Texas redbud trees drought-tolerant?

Q11. Yes, once established, they are relatively drought-tolerant. However, they benefit from regular watering, especially during dry periods, to maintain healthy growth and flowering.


Q12. Can Texas redbud trees grow in shade?

A12. Yes, these trees can tolerate partial shade, but they generally thrive in full sun to partial shade. They may have a more open and spreading growth habit in shadier conditions.


Q13. Do Texas redbud trees require pruning?

A13. Texas redbud trees require minimal pruning. Prune dead or crossing branches during the dormant season to maintain an attractive shape and encourage flowering.


Q14. What wildlife do Texas redbud trees attract?

A14. Texas redbud trees attract various wildlife species. Their flowers are a nectar source for pollinators like bees and butterflies. Birds often use the tree for nesting, and the seedpods provide food for animals such as squirrels and deer.


Q15. Can I plant a Texas redbud tree in my garden?

A15. Yes, they are popular choices for landscaping in Texas and other Southern states. They work well as standalone ornamental trees, in group plantings, or as part of mixed borders, adding vibrant color to your garden in spring.


Q16. Are there different varieties of Texas redbud trees?

A16. Yes, there are several varieties and cultivars of Texas redbud trees with variations in flower color and growth habits. Some common cultivars include ‘Oklahoma,’ ‘Texas White,’ and ‘Forest Pansy,’ which has deep burgundy foliage.


Q17. Is the Texas redbud tree related to the Eastern redbud tree?

A17. Yes, the Texas redbud tree (Cercis canadensis var. texensis) is a variety of the Eastern redbud tree (Cercis canadensis). While they share many characteristics, the Texas redbud is adaptable to the specific climate and conditions of Texas and the Southern U.S.


In conclusion, the beloved native Texas redbud tree is recognizable for its stunning springtime display of pink to purple flowers, ability to flourish in different environments, and importance to pollinators and wildlife. This tree may bring year-round beauty and ecological advantages to your landscape as an avid gardener or nature lover.

There is also the Chinese maple tree which is amazing, read about it here.