UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Orange County


Shrub-Tree- Western Redbud

Cercis occidentalis photo by Steve Ryan
Common Name:  Western Redbud

Botanical Name: Cercis occidentalis

Family:  Fabaceae

Description: Deciduous shrub to small tree native to California foothills, Arizona, Utah

Sun: Full sun

Water: Some summer water; regular water in desert areas

Soil: Tolerates alkaline soil and clay

Habit and form: Shrub to small tree with multiple trunks, from 6-20 feet tall and 10-15 feet wide; heart-shaped foliage is blue-green and provides fall colors

Flower type: Striking pea-shaped flowers on bare branches; attractive seed pods from spring through winter

Flower color & bloom season: Magenta flowers February through April; any one shrub will remain in flower only about 2 weeks

Uses for plant and/or flowers: Young branches used by native American basket weavers

Pruning time & method: Prune to shape in fall, winter, or early spring to remove dead or dying branches

Maintenance tips: Needs a winter chill before flowers set properly

Comments: Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies


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