- Wonderful Ornamental Tree
- Beautiful Spring Bloom
- Dark Burgundy Foliage Won’t Fade
- Heat Tolerant
- Tolerant of Low Humidity and Higher pH
- Easy Care
- Fewer Seeds than Eastern Redbud
- Butterfly Magnet
- Beautiful Focal Point in the Yard
This is a perfect small tree for the hot, arid summers of Western states. This richly-colored selection of the beloved native Redbud tree really stands up to heat, low humidity and higher pH soil levels.
Merlot Redbud (Cercis x ‘Merlot’) is a gorgeous, small tree with thick, glossy – and dark purple! – leaves. They won’t discolor or burn.
In early spring, you and your neighbors will love seeing the awesome floral display. Each beautiful bare branch is liberally frosted in bright lavender-pink flowers. This blooms really showcase the arching, upright branch structure and provide a beautiful, fountain-like effect.
The flower display can last for weeks long for you to enjoy. Think of it! Weeks of blooms to welcome spring. Early butterflies really appreciate this native nectar source.
Following this intense bloom, brilliant red leaf buds start to unfold from within the flowers. You’ll be entranced watching this show each year. Tiny new foliage grows into shiny, leathery, purple, heart-shaped leaves.
Rich, wine-red foliage emerges and hold its color all season long – even in low humidity. They will not burn along their margin edges in areas with higher soil pH.
The reason this improved hybrid tree is so durable is due to its parentage. Developed at North Carolina State University, ‘Merlot’ is a hybrid of ‘Texas White’ Texas Redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis) and ‘Forest Pansy’ (Cercis canadensis).
This is the Redbud for Western landscapes. Although the foliage is similar to Forest Pansy, Merlot was carefully selected for its tolerance to heat and periodic drought. It will perform beautifully from Zones 6 – 9.
We sell out of this hot tree almost as fast as we can grow them. Order right now, so you won’t miss out.
How to Use Merlot Redbud in the Landscape
This tree is a fabulous focal point for your landscape. Use as a single specimen near your front door, by your patio, near a fountain or small pond, or as a special small tree in a Meditation Garden. You’ll never grow tired of it.
Give them room to grow to their full mature size. You won’t want to miss a minute of the pretty display.
For foundation plantings, site the tree 20 feet from your house. This will give you plenty of room to access your home exterior as needed.
To extend the height of existing fences and gain more privacy, plant several as a continuous hedgerow. This dark color creates a dramatic backdrop and can make small lots appear larger. Plant them 10 feet apart (measuring from the trunk of one to the trunk of the next) so the branches grow together. For faster results, plant your trees in a slight zig-zag.
Add smaller shrubs and perennials in front and you’ll be thrilled how the bright colors “pop” against that contrasting dark foliage. Try pairing it with red Roses, pink Breath of Heaven, Goldflame Spirea, or sculptural plants like Mad About Mangave or Adam’s Needle Yucca.
For a modern look around your pool deck, use a single variety of an easy-care edging plant in front of Merlot. Try Fortnight Lily to pull the maroon foliage color together. It will establish itself in high-style but require very little maintenance.
You’ll love the charming presentation of a vase-shaped form and dense, semi-upright habit. Perfect for smaller landscapes, this tree can also be grouped together to add a punch of color in a mixed tree or large shrub planting. Try it as an effective understory tree placed in front of larger native trees.
Because it will need regular watering to perform at its best, why not add it to the edge of a Rain Garden? Try a placement near a pond to double your enjoyment with its fabulous reflection in the water.
Honestly, we can’t think of a single plant or spot in your yard that this tree wouldn’t complement. It’s literally that versatile.
Tips for Care
Fall clean-up is easy because Merlot features larger leaves, which make fast work of raking. With far fewer seed pods, the Merlot Redbud is a nice, clean tree.
When planting, give it well-drained soil. If you have drainage issues, simply create a mound of soil 18 – 24 inches above your native soil line. Plant directly into that mound to improve drainage.
To establish your new tree during the first few growing seasons, water deeply and regularly. This means weekly or more often in extreme heat.
As your tree develops an established root system, it will tolerate periodic drought. For desert conditions, give it afternoon shade and provide supplemental water.
Prune to shape in summer after the flowering is finished. You can feed an organic, all-purpose fertilizer in late winter before new growth starts.