UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Water Wise Plants

Cercis occidentalis

Pronunciation
SIR-sis ok-sih-den-TAY-liss
Common Name
Western Redbud
Plant Type
Shrub
Mature Size
12-20 ft. tall and wide
Water Requirements
None: avoid summer water
Sun/Shade Requirements
Full to half sun
Flower Color
Magenta
Wildlife
Maintenance- Design- Planting Tips

We wish we had a picture of a Western redbud in full bloom, but our five year old plants have not produced many blooms. The book, California Native Plants for the Garden, says this tree will bloom more profusely with winter chill and full sun.

The magenta flowers are quite a sight in the early spring. After blooming this small multi-trunked tree or large shrub has pretty heart-shaped leaves. This California native is an excellent choice for a small space or an edge of woodland design.

After the plant blooms, Western redbud sets distinctive seedpods. We can't say we are crazy about how they look, but the gorgeous flowers help us put up with them.

Like many natives, this plant needs good drainage, so consider planting it on a mound. Avoid summer water. Cercis can be pruned over the winter to open up the branching structure to give the plant a more tree-like appearance.

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