Alley Cat Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Alley Cat’)

Alley Cat Redbud

  • Excellent Small Ornamental Tree
  • Unusual Variegated Leaves
  • Electric Purple-Pink Blooms in Very Early Spring
  • New Leaves Emerge Dark Pink
  • Mature Leaves Mellow to Marbled Green and White Variegation
  • Heat-Tolerant, Heart-Shaped Leaves Will Not Scorch
  • Winter Interest
  • Natural Sport of Native Trees Found in an Alley!
  • Compact Tree that Spreads So Nicely
  • Disease-Resistant
  • Widely Adapted
  • Easy-Care

For a compact tree that is long on ornamental style, grow Alley Cat Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Alley Cat’). You’ll love the incredible flower display in early spring and the wonderfully variegated foliage all season long.

Make your neighborhood swoon with clusters of brilliant purple-pink, pea-shaped blooms in very early spring. You’ll kick off your growing season with this dynamic display, as the flowers are held on bare branches.

The flower power lasts for weeks in the spring! Let this tree play the starring role in your Spring Garden design. Underplant it with hundreds of spring-flowering bulbs and gift yourself a truly joyous experience.

You’ll be so pleased to see the new growth of foliage emerge. It’s dark pink!

Alley Cat Redbud brings a whole new level to the concept of summer shade. The leaves mellow to a gorgeous, mottled green and white marbled effect over the course of the spring.

Each heart-shaped leaf looks like it was splashed with white paint. They hang from long petioles and flutter in the breeze to provide a restful oasis in the heat of summer.

Don’t worry, variegated Redbuds are rugged, and their pretty leaves don’t scorch in the hot sun. Alley Cats are tough, and make a great choice for Western landscapes.

You’ll love the bold foliage and sculptural shape that spreads a bit wider than it grows tall. They’ll grow into a marvelous focal point in your landscape.

This special variety is a natural sport of the beloved native Redbud. Keep your eyes open on your walks, as easy-care Alley Cat was literally found growing in an alley!

The adaptable species Redbud is an understory tree that grows in woodlands and along creeks and rivers, so it can tolerate partial shade. It puts up with freezing cold, high heat and is adaptable to many well-drained soil types.

How to Use Alley Cat Redbud in the Landscape

Study your landscape to find a good spot for these small accent trees. Use one at the side of a pond or water feature to capture the reflection in the water.

Add a series of them in an informal grouping along the edge of a woodland. For a natural look, create an irregular row, varying the spacing between the trees. Or, add three in a loose triangular planting pattern.

They make a fabulous grouping for a raised berm planting. Use one at the corner of your house to anchor your foundation planting.

These small trees are easy to love, and easy to use throughout your landscape. Create an amazing backdrop for your perennial beds. Run three of them behind your entertainment area in a mulched garden bed for a perfect conversation starter.

They’ll thrill you with their easy care nature, and lovely looks. Use them in commercial property or anywhere in your home landscape.

For a close planting where the canopies touch, plant them 12 feet apart on center. You’ll measure from the center of one to the center of the next. Expand that spacing to 35 feet apart to establish the look of individual trees.

Play around with your planting technique. Many garden designers prefer the look of a slightly tilted trunk, so that the canopy gracefully drapes in a truly evocative way.

Tips for Care

Rugged Redbud trees do best when planted in well-drained soil. Add a packet of Nature Hills Root Booster to boost your soil ecosystem with beneficial microbes. It will help your tree access water and micronutrients for its entire lifespan.

Provide plenty of regular water, especially when the tree is young and if you live in a dry climate. In the warmest zones, provide morning sun and protection from the hot afternoon sun.

Mulch helps keep the root system nice and cool. Spread a three-inch layer all around the trunk, but pull it away from touching the trunk.

Redbuds are notoriously slow to send out leaves in spring, so please be patient with your young trees. Alley Cat will more than reward you with those magnificent variegated leaves!

Alley Cat Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Alley Cat’) Details

Common name Alley Cat Redbud
Botanical name Cercis canadensis 'Alley Cat'
Plant type Deciduous
Hardiness zone 5-9
Growth rate Medium
Height 20 ft.
Width 30 ft.
Sunlight Full Sun, Partial Shade
Moisture Medium
Soil condition Well Drained
Pollinator-friendly Yes
Pruning time After Flowering
Flower color Purple, Pink