Noted for its golden foliage, Cercis canadensis ‘Hearts of Gold’ (Eastern Redbud) is a deciduous tree with a dense, dome-shaped canopy. Masses of pea-like lavender-purple flowers held in clusters cover the bare branches in the spring, before the foliage emerges, creating a most dramatic display. The cheerful blossoms are on display for 2-3 weeks. Emerging orange-red, the foliage of heart-shaped, semi-glossy leaves, matures to bright gold before fading to chartreuse as the summer progresses. The gold foliage is burn-resistant even in full sun. Unlike most other Cercis canadensis cultivars, ‘Hearts of Gold’ produces flower buds on one-year old whips. Perfect for hedges or as a specimen, this Eastern Redbud is a wonderful plant for illuminating a shady spot in the garden.
- Grows up to 10 ft. tall and wide (300 cm) in 5 years, maturing to 20-25 ft. tall (600-750 cm) and 18 ft. wide (540 cm).
- A full sun to part shade lover, this Redbud is easily grown in well-drained soils. Performs best in moderately fertile soils with regular and consistent moisture. Best flower production is obtained in full sun but part shade is best in hot summer climates. Needs a winter chill before flowers set properly.
- Perfect choice as a specimen plant or for hedges.
- Generally pest free. Watch for canker, verticillium wilt, dieback, leaf spots, mildew and blights. Deer tolerant.
- Does not transplant well. It should be planted when young and left undisturbed.
Full sun is the best position for the Hearts of Gold Redbud. Too much shade will make the gold color of the leaves turn greenish very quickly. The soil should be moist, rich and well-drained, but this tough plant is not too fussy, and it grows well in poorer soils, including clays. It is hardy in warmer parts of zone 4, and just as hardy in zone 9, tolerating both cold and heat. In hotter areas it may benefit from afternoon shade, and you should attend to watering during dry periods, especially in warm zones. Pests and diseases are rare, and deer don’t bother with this plant. Pruning is not needed, but you may wish to remove some lower branches, and it is always advisable to take out dead or very crowded branches. Allow enough room for its spread when planting. It should not be closer than 15 feet to a wall, fence or boundary line, and don’t plant beneath overhead wires. This plant is very difficult to relocate in your garden, as established plants don’t transplant well – think carefully when choosing what will be its final, permanent spot in your garden.
The Hearts of Gold Redbud is a special form of the eastern redbud, Cercis canadensis. Although the name implies it grows in Canada, it is only found in the most southern part of Ontario, but it grows all through New England, around the Great Lakes, and down into Florida and Texas. The variety called ‘Hearts of Gold’ was discovered in the spring of 2002 by Jon Roethling growing as a single seedling plant in a private garden in Greensboro, North Carolina. Pieces were taken to the Hidden Hollow Nursery in Belvidere, Tennessee that fall, and successfully grafted onto ordinary redbud seedlings. Our trees are grown in the same way, to ensure their perfect genetic continuity from that original unique plant. This tree is a big hit with all gardeners who see it, and the demand is far greater than the supply.