Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Plant Guide

Cercis occidentalis (Shrub)

Common Name
Western Redbud
CA Native
California Native
Plant Type
Shrub
Size
15' x 10'
Flower Color
Magenta Pink
Bloom Time
  • Spring
Leaves
Green in Spring Turning Yellow to Red in Fall
Evergreen
Deciduous
Deer Resistant
Rarely Damaged
Wildlife Value
  • Bees
  • Bird Habitat
Growth Rate
Moderate
Hardiness
Hardy
Adverse Growth Factors
None
Special Features
  • Fall Color
  • Good Under Oaks
  • Low Maintenance
  • Showy Flowers
Water Use
  • Drought Tolerant
  • Low
Soil pH
6.5-7.5 (neutral)
Exposure
  • Full Sun
  • Partial Shade
  • Shade
Soil Type
Not Particular
Drainage
Well Drained
Description and Cultural Plant Tips

Cersis occidentalis can be a multi-stemmed shrub or tree depending on how you prune it. It has masses of magenta pink flowers in early spring which then develop into long brownish seed pods. In colder parts of Marin, the leaves will turn a bright yellow to red in the fall. Naturalize below your oaks or use in the back of a shrub border for early spring color. Blooms at the same time as some of the early Ceanothus.

Plant slightly above grade in well-drained soil. Do not disturb root ball. Does not need amendments or fertilizer. Mulch around plant in at least a 2-3 foot diameter circle. Plant in the fall to take advantage of winter rains. Drought tolerant once established.

Attracks hummingbirds and bees.

No significant pests or diseases. Resistant to oak root fungus.

Master Gardener Comments
Varietals

C. occidentalis ' Alba' - white flowers

C. occidentalis - 'Forest Pansy' - purple leaves and reddish branches

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