Best REDBUD varieties- new & old

KPlum(7a)April 17, 2014

I love redbuds. Having a blank canvas as a backyard, I cannot wait to begin planting. I am in central Oklahoma and would GREATLY appreciate tips on which variety is best for the area, and how to keep it alive.

We planted a dwarf redbud a year ago, and it's done horribly. We were constantly redbud leafroller worms (doable), but the kicker was when the base of the trunk split. I'm unsure as to what caused the split, but I suspect drastic changes in the weather.

My mother-in-law has declared that the easiest and best variety of redbud for our area is the eastern. I am particularly interested in the "Merlot," but have found very little information from others on this variety.

I'm attaching a link that showcases some of the other varieties I've discovered. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: additional interesting redbud article

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I believe eastern is what occurs naturally at least through eastern oklahoma, however, you're also close to texensis, and it may even occur where you are.
I'd personally go with texensis for Oklahoma, to better handle drought, the leaves are very glossy and retain water better.

If you want a more robust tree, forget all the foo foo varieties and get just a species.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 8:06PM
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A more robust tree is preferable, especially for a newbie to gardening. Thanks dbarron!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 5:27PM
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I grew 'Forest Pansy' way back when. It did quite well, growing as easily as the common eastern types, I didn't notice any difference in reliability so I recommend it for anyone. It did just fine in a particularly hot summer too & was a fairly fast grower. I recommend a spot with afternoon shade so the leaves stay nicer but mine got a lot of sun without too much problem. The color stays better in a bit of afternoon shade. I took it out a few years ago when redesigning the landscape here.

There is one still growing up the road that has been there for years on the south side of the house but it gets a lot of shade from a larger tree & is smaller than mine was. The leaves are not only red, they are also larger than on the Eastern R.B. & very shiny. Mine bloomed heavily even along the trunk & main stems but produced no seed pods which I thought was an asset. I've seen some redbuds that look quite unattractive in summer with too many seedpods. Others look fine so they vary on this.

One more thing about this tree I just remembered is that it is more umbrella-like in the canopy. Very graceful branching habit with a distinctly wider spread than the Eastern R.B. A very pretty shape.

Another you might want to consider is Texas Redbud. Smaller leaves with wavy margins. Also, check out the Purple Smoke tree---Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'. These are stunning small ornamental trees. They do very good here. Another good long blooming tree that does well that you might be interested in is Desert Willow. Some have blooms that smell fantastic all summer. These 2 will both take heat, full sun & drought well.

Just make sure to keep them regularly (but not over) watered until established, you should do just fine, experience or no.

Here is a link that might be useful:

This post was edited by TexasRanger10 on Mon, Apr 21, 14 at 2:10

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 10:30PM
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Well, I love redbuds! I have 'Oklahoma' Redbuds and find them to be one of the easiest ornamental trees to grow here in Oklahoma. I have had 'Forest Pansies' in the past but the drought kind of wreaked havoc on them. I now grow an understory Redbud called 'Rising Sun' and absolutely love it. If you can get the sun off of it by noon and give it shade it will thrive and its drought tolerant! The 'Merlot' is an understory tree as well, it can take morning sun and needs to be shaded in the afternoon. You might also look at 'Burgundy Hearts' and its weeping form 'Ruby Falls'. Don't feel bad about losing the dwarf Redbud, I tried a 'Don Egolf' dwarf a few years ago and was never impressed.

I would also look at 'Royal Raindrops' or 'Prairiefire' Flowering Crabapples.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 11:23PM
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Lol, I have to extol the beauty of the ones growing along side the road. I took this yesterday, about a mile from my house. I chose this redbud solely because I could photograph combos of redbud/dogwood here (growing alongside each other).
Forest Pansy was bred by one of mentor's from college, so it almost certainly has local genes from Arkansas.
Eastern redbud, though quite possibly tainted with texensis genes, since I'm in an overlap area.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 12:57PM
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