Cotton Candy® Redbud TreeCercis canadensis 'Sjo' (PP# 29,290)
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Cercis canadensis 'Sjo' (PP# 29,290)
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Cotton Candy™ Redbud is a gorgeous new variety of the eastern redbud, a native tree and one of the very first trees to bloom in spring. The dark-brown stems and branches are covered in a profusion of pastel-pink blooms before the leaves emerge, in one of the highlights of spring. The heart-shaped leaves that follow are very attractive, with prominent veins, and they hang vertically from the branches. In fall the leaves turn glowing yellow, and dark brown seed pods decorate the branches in fall and early winter. The winter silhouette is very beautiful. Grow this tree as a lawn specimen or along the edges of woodlands. Plant it in the background of large shrub beds, or on slopes and in semi-natural settings.
The very adaptable and easily grown Cotton Candy™ Redbud thrives in full sun or partial shade. It will grow in most soils, including poor ones, both acid and alkaline, if they are well-drained and not too dry. This tree has no pests or diseases and no pruning is needed or desirable, after some possible shaping during its first few years. A very adaptable and easy tree that will grow in almost all gardens with ease.
Redbud trees are a magnificent highlight of spring all through the woods and forests of the eastern states. Perhaps because they are native, they are seen less often in gardens, which is a real mistake. Today there is a trend towards growing native plants, and avoiding alien species, and the eastern redbud is an ideal choice for that. With redbud trees, you can grow native without giving up color and beauty, and do it easily, with a tree that is adaptable and simple to grow. The redbud’s early spring blooms come ahead of most other trees, so they extend the season of garden interest too. Growing native doesn’t have to mean simply growing the wild plant, and with redbuds there are several varieties in unique colors and forms. None, though, is a bright and exciting as the Cotton Candy™ Redbud, whose unique pastel-pink blossoms shine out across the garden.
The Cotton Candy Redbud grows rapidly into a vase-shaped tree, reaching 25 feet tall in time, with a spread of around 15 feet. The dark brown bark is smooth and matt when young, covered in tiny flecks of lavender-beige. Older bark develops attractive deep but thin vertical fissures, giving it a mature and more rugged appearance. The branching pattern of this tree is extremely attractive in winter, with tons of characters and charm, with its elegant twisting branches dark against the sky.
Suddenly, as the first warmth of spring reaches out, clusters of buds all along the branches and larger stems of this tree burst open, creating a spectacular display of many, many blossoms, each one like a tiny pea flower. The stems and sepals supporting the flower are bright, light pink, and the petals are a soft pastel baby-pink – the exact color of a twirl of cotton candy. The way in which the buds are carried directly on thick branches is rare, and gives an extraordinary density of blooming, far beyond that of most other flowering trees.
As the flowers begin to fade, the new leaves emerge, and the Cotton Candy Redbud has very attractive foliage. The leaves are round and heart-shaped, about 4 inches long and wide, with prominent veins, a smooth surface, and a bright, mid-green color. The leaves hang attractively downwards, showing their faces, and this tree in leaf is very attractive indeed. When fall comes the leaves turn a glowing golden yellow, before falling, and revealing those striking near-black stems. Hidden among the leaves, the flowers have turned in summer into flattened seed pods, like dark-brown bean pods, between 2 and 4 inches long. These add an interesting touch in fall and winter, and by spring they will have fallen to the ground, making room for the coming blooms.
The Cotton Candy Redbud would make a lovely lawn specimen, attractive all year round. It would be beautiful growing along the edges of wooded areas, or at the back of larger shrub beds. It could be fitted into the angle between the walls of your home, looking spectacular against dark brickwork or stone. Mix it with other redbuds with darker flowers in a group planting for a stunning contrast. Wherever you grow this easy-care plant, you will love it.
The Cotton Candy Redbud can be grown from zone 5 southward, all through the eastern half of the country. It will also grow in zone 4, but flowering may be limited in some springs, if there are frosts after the flower buds begin to stir, which happens early. In zone 4 planting among larger trees on a slope, and avoiding hollows, will often give you more reliable blooming. This tree grows best in moist, well-drained soil of any type, both acid or alkaline, and it will grow in almost any soil. It will grow well in both full sun and partial shade, enjoying spots along the edges of wooded areas, where it looks and feels completely at home. It has no significant pests or diseases, and this is a very adaptable, easy tree to grow. This tree grows best in areas with spring and summer rainfall, and it is not a good choice further west, in more arid climates. There we recommend you grow the western redbud, Cercis siliquastrum, a closely related species adapted to much drier conditions, and an equally beautiful tree.
The Cotton Candy Redbud is a selected form of the eastern redbud, Cercis canadensis. Its northern limit is a small area in the far south of Ontario, and from there it spreads all through the eastern states and into parts of the midwest, down into Florida, and around the Gulf. It is usually found growing in open forests among larger trees. It is the state tree of Oklahoma. In 2001 Keith D. Westervelt, who owns the Blueville Nursery in Manhattan, Kansas, was inspecting some plants of eastern redbud he had growing. When they were in bloom, he noticed one tree had a unique branch, with pale pink flowers, instead of the more normal purple-pink. He propagated pieces of that branch, and he was able to grow trees from it, and they kept their unique flower coloring. He named his plant ‘Sjo’, and in 2018 he was granted a patent for its unique properties. This new variety has been greeted with great reviews, and we can recommend it highly. Our plants are created by taking buds from the plant and attaching them to seedling redbuds. Once grown on by skilled propagators, you have a plant identical to that original unique branch. This is completely different, and much more difficult to do, than simply growing a random collection from seed. New varieties of redbud are always in high demand, so order now, because our stock will soon be gone.