Traveller Weeping RedbudCercis canadensis var. texensis 'Traveller'
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Cercis canadensis var. texensis 'Traveller'
Outdoor Growing zone
Full Sun, Partial Sun
The Traveller Weeping Redbud is a beautiful pendulous variety of the Texas redbud, with branches that grow downwards at 45 degrees, creating a broad, spreading crown up to 12 feet across, on a plant that is just 5 or 6 feet tall. In early spring the bare stems are smothered in bunches of vibrant fuchsia-pink blooms, which are followed by pods that turn red and then brown by fall. The leaves are heart-shaped, and glossy, opening reddish in spring, before turning a beautiful green, and then turning yellow, orange and copper in fall. Grow this tree as a lawn specimen, at the back of a shrub bed, or as a specimen on a slope or among rocks.
Grow the Traveller Weeping Redbud in zone 6 and all warmer zones. It is not as cold resistant as most other eastern redbud trees, but much more drought and heat resistant. It grows well in almost all well-drained soils, and it tolerates urban pollution and dryness well. Pests and diseases are usually not problems, and deer leave it alone. No pruning is needed, except for removing any shoots that may form on the main trunk, as this tree is grafted.
Shrubs that bloom in early spring are always valued, and after the drabness of winter we love to see color returning to our gardens. Redbud trees are one of the earliest bushes to bloom, and their vivid fuchsia-pink blooms shine out across the garden, visible for a great distance. Most are upright, medium to large bushes, and fitting them into average garden can be hard. That’s why the arrival of the Traveller Weeping Redbud was such a treat, because this lovely plant is much lower-growing than others, and its unique weeping habit gives it a special grace and elegance that other redbuds lack.
The Traveller Weeping Redbud forms a broad, spreading bush that will grow no more than 5 or possible 6 feet tall. It has a sturdy central trunk and from that the branches radiate outwards and downwards, developing into an umbrella of branches. Plants normally add around 18 inches a year to their branch length, so it doesn’t take long for a mature plant to develop in your garden. Within 10 years this tree can be 12 feet across. Most branches grow at about 45o below the horizontal, and while some can rise upwards, they reorient themselves in a downward direction as they mature. When you choose a planting spot, make sure there is enough room for its eventual spread. The back of a smaller shrub border would be idea, as it would be clearly visible in early spring, in its glory, and then become a graceful backdrop for the plants that bloom later. In winter the arching and descending form of the branches is attractive, and the dark gray bark stands out against snow, or the leaves of evergreens. In time the smoothness of the slate-gray bark gives way to a more rugged look, with small rectangular plates of browner bark forming in irregular patterns.
The leaves of the Traveller Weeping Redbud are attractive. They are smaller than those of most other redbud trees, just ¾ to 1½ inches long, heart-shaped, with a wavy edge, rounded base and a pointed tip. They hang from the stems in an attractive way, and flutter in the breeze. They are glossy, bright green, and reddish in spring when they first emerge, as the flowering period ends. The foliage in summer is bright and clean, always looking attractive. In fall they turn yellow, orange and copper, making a striking display, and adding to the overall beauty of that season.
The flowers of the Traveller Weeping Redbud are carried all along the branches. Redbuds have a unique flowering habit, forming buds in clusters directly on the main branches, not just on younger stems. These clusters each contain 4 to 8 flowers, and even young plants bloom well. The flowers are small, just ½ an inch long, and they look like tiny sweet peas (because this tree is, perhaps surprisingly, in the pea family). Their strong fuchsia-pink color, with lighter-pink tones, make a very effective display, and you will love the look of this tree in bloom. After the blooms end, seed pods develop, about 4 inches long, and these become more noticeable once the leaves have fallen. These often become red before fully ripening, when they become mahogany brown – not exactly beautiful, but certainly interesting.
Besides planting it in a shrub bed, the Traveller Weeping Redbud is a lovely choice for a lawn specimen, where its year-round beauty will really show. Plant it beside a path, or as a pair flanking an entrance or doorway. Grow it on a slope among boulders and evergreens, or plant it in brighter parts of a woodland, which is closer to its natural habitat. It could also be used as a specimen in a large planter.
The Traveller Weeping Redbud is not as cold-hardy as other forms of this tree, and it can be grown successfully in zones 6 to 9. It is happy in most well-drained soils, and this variety is more drought resistant than other forms. It is also more heat resistant, and it thrives in full sun, though partial shade is also a great location for this adaptable plant. It is normally free of serious pests or diseases, and deer usually ignore it. Pruning is not usually needed, but if any stems arise from the trunk of your tree, remove them completely, as they are normal, upright redbud, and not the weeping plant that makes the upper part of the plant.
The Traveller Weeping Redbud is a unique selection of the Texas redbud, Cercis canadensis var. texensis. The eastern redbud, Cercis canadensis, grows from the most southern part of Canada, around Niagara Falls, all the way down the eastern states into Florida, and west into Nebraska and Texas, where it becomes this distinct variety called the Texas redbud. While northern plants are hardy in zone 4, this Texan variety is only hardy to zone 6, but it is more heat and drought resistant than northern forms. In the late 1980s, Daniel A. Hosage Jr. from Madrone Nursery, San Marcos, Texas, collected seed from a wild group of Texas redbud growing in Blanco County, Texas. The nursery grew 10,000 seedlings, and among them they found one unique individual plant with branches that grow downwards instead of upwards. It first bloomed in 1993, and it was named ‘Traveller’ after General Robert E. Lee’s horse. In 1994 Mr. Hosage was granted a US Plant Patent, which expired in 2014. To create your tree, a piece of stem derived from that one original plant has been skillfully attached by grafting onto a strong, upright stem of a seedling redbud plant. That forms the trunk of your tree, while the weeping branches are the variety ‘Traveller’. This beautiful plant is always in short supply, and the demand always outstrips that supply. Order now, while our limited stock of these gorgeous trees remains available – they will soon be gone.