Flame Thrower® Redbud

Cercis canadensis 'NC2016-2' (PP# 31,260)

Flame Thrower® Redbud

Cercis canadensis 'NC2016-2' (PP# 31,260)

This product is currently out of stock and unavailable.


How are the heights measured?

All tree, and nothin' but the tree! We measure from the top of the soil to the top of the tree; the height of the container or the root system is never included in our measurements.

What is a gallon container?

Nursery containers come in a variety of different sizes, and old-school nursery slang has stuck. While the industry-standard terminology is to call the sizes "Gallon Containers", that doesn't exactly translate to the traditional liquid "gallon" size we think of. You'll find we carry young 1-gallons, up to more mature 7-gallons ranging anywhere from 6 inches to 6ft.

How does the delivery process work?

All of our orders ship via FedEx Ground! Once your order is placed online, our magic elves get right to work picking, staging, boxing and shipping your trees. Orders typically ship out within 2 business days. You will receive email notifications along the way on the progress of your order, as well as tracking information to track your plants all the way to their new home!

Why are some states excluded from shipping?

The short & sweet answer is: "United States Department of Agriculture Restrictions." Every state has their own unique USDA restrictions on which plants they allow to come into their state. While we wish we could serve everyone, it's for the safety of native species and helps prevent the spread of invasive disease & pests. We've gotta protect good ole' Mother Nature, after all.

About Me


The Flame Thrower® Redbud quickly becomes a spreading large shrub, reaching 6 feet within a few years and maturing at 15 feet tall, with a broad, semi-weeping form. It has spectacular heart-shaped leaves that transform from rich burgundy through shades of smoky and buff pinks into glowing golden tones for the summer. Before any leaves appear this is also a striking spring bloomer, smothered in purple-pink blossoms that radiate vibrant color. It blooms in clusters directly on the main branches as well as on young stems. It will become a magnificent lawn specimen, an addition to your shrub beds, or grow it on the sunny side of woodlands.

  • Leaves begin burgundy, and pass through smoky pinks to golden greens
  • Before any leaves appear it is smothered in vibrant purple-pink blooms
  • Perfect shrub to bring color and beauty to your garden
  • Valuable as a lawn specimen, fringing woodlands or in garden beds
  • Fast-growing and dependable

The Flame Thrower® Redbud should be grown in full sun for the best colors on the leaves. It grows best in richer soils that are moist but well-drained, and benefits from regular watering during its early life with you. Once well-established it has good drought tolerance, but benefits from deep watering in summer. It is usually left alone by pests or diseases but it isn’t deer resistant.

Plant Hardiness Zones 4-9
Mature Width 12-15
Mature Height 15-20
Sun Needs Full Sun
Zones 4-9

Colored foliage is for sure the best and easiest way to bring long-term color into your garden – color that lasts month after month, unlike flowers that are over in a week or two. Some foliage plants give a stable effect, but you can really make your garden dance and sing with plants like the beautiful Flame Thrower® Redbud, a bush that plays a rhapsody in burgundy, yellow and green through the seasons, so that it looks different and fresh almost every day. This large shrub has beautiful heart-shaped leaves that begin their life burgundy, turn designer buff pinks, and then settle into golden greens as permanent dress for the summer. Most of us would be more than happy if this harlequin display was all there was, but before leafing out this redbud has already given us a staggering display of vibrant purple-pink flowers, clustered not just on young stems, but sprouting directly from the main branches as well – a striking way of blooming that is almost unique to redbuds. Glowing across the garden like a beacon of spring hope, these are blossoms that amaze us every spring. Now, with its unique foliage effects as well, this is a shrub whose beauty has to be seen to be believed.

Growing the Flame Thrower® Redbud

Size and Appearance

The Flame Thrower® Redbud is a large deciduous shrub or small tree, growing into a spreading, multi-trunk form that will reach about 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide. It is fast growing too, adding at least 18 inches a year when young, and so it will soon be a striking feature in your garden. It has a gentle semi-weeping habit, enhanced by the lovely heart-shaped leaves, and a gorgeous winter profile, with intricate branching of considerable charm. The bark is smooth and finely-textured, and very dark in color – a black-brown that adds to its charm.

The leaves are heart-shaped and almost round, about 4 inches long and wide. When the new stems develop they are bright burgundy and glossy, becoming more matt on maturity. Mature leaves are bright golden green, and it is the vibrant transformations that turn burgundy into gold that make this tree so unique and intriguing. They slide through many shades making that change, with smokey pinks, soft buff-pinks and pale tans playing out the progressions.

Well before the leaves develop, while the garden is still sleeping through the final days of winter – that is when this shrub flowers, among the earliest blossoms of any spring bloomer. The small, pea-flower-like blossoms gather in dense clusters along the branches, and sprout in clumps directly from the main limbs, so that the whole bush is in bloom from head to foot. The flowers might be small, but they more than make up for it with the intensity of their coloring. A powerful purplish pink, this is one shrub that shouts across the garden, it doesn’t whisper. It is a wonderful trumpet blast announcing that winter is over, and spring is here again. The large brown seed pods that are often seen in winter on redbuds are usually not produced by this variety.

Using the Flame Thrower® Redbud in Your Garden

The Flame Thrower Redbud is an ideal plant for a focal point or striking specimen. Place it among dark-leaved plants for contrast, or blend it with other plants with golden-yellow leaves. Place it at a strategic position where its beauty can be seen, admired and enjoyed. It is equally at home beside a doorway, out in a garden bed, or edging a wooded area. Allow room for its final height and width when planting, and don’t plant below windows or up against a wall.


The Flame Thrower Redbud is completely hardy and happy from zone 5 to zone 8. It will usually grow well in warmer parts of zone 4, in a warm, sheltered spot, and grow in zone 9 in the northeast, where summers are not very hot or dry.

Sun Exposure and Soil Conditions

We recommend you plant the Flame Thrower Redbud in full sun for the best development of the leaf coloring. Redbuds will grow in partial shade, but the leaves will become greenish more quickly, and lose their golden color. In hot zones a couple of hours of afternoon shade is helpful in protecting from scorching, and don’t allow young plants to become too dry. Once well-established this bush has good drought resistance, but water new plants regularly. The best soil is rich, moist and well-drained, so use plenty of organic material when planting, and mulch across the root zone in spring or fall to feed your plant and conserve moisture.

Maintenance and Pruning

The Flame Thrower Redbud is normally free of pests or diseases, but deer may graze it in winter and early spring. It is best to remove weak branches as the tree develops, so that you establish a good, multi-stem form and encourage the slightly weeping habit of this particular variety.

History and Origin of the Flame Thrower® Redbud

Redbuds are a small group of trees that grow in North America and China. The eastern redbud, Cercis canadensis, grows throughout the east from the Great Lakes into northern Florida, and westwards to Texas and Nebraska. Despite its name, it is only found in Canada around Niagara.

Dr. Dennis Werner is the J.C. Raulston Distinguished Professor of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University and a major plant breeder of many of our best garden plants. At the Sandhills Research Station near Pinehurst he and his team breed redbuds, using hand-crossing and isolation to encourage the traits they want to see. In 2010 he took pollen from another redbud with changing foliage, called Rising Sun (‘JN2’) and used it to create seeds with another plant in his collection. The seedlings that grew were isolated in a field, and he collected seed from them. Among the seedlings that grew was one remarkable plant that was selected in 2017 and named ‘NC2016-2’. It was patented in 2019 to benefit the University and given the trademark name of Flame Thrower® by the Conard-Pyle Nursery Company of Pennsylvania and released by their brand, Star® Roses and Plants.

Buying the Flame Thrower® Redbud at the Tree Center

This new redbud is turning heads everywhere it is seen, and it’s sure to become a firm garden favorite. Be first to grow it, and make the Flame Thrower® Redbud a feature in your garden. Hot new varieties like this sell out faster than we can bring them into our stock, so order now.

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Flame Thrower® Redbud

Cercis canadensis 'NC2016-2' (PP# 31,260)