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The western redbud is one of the premier flowering plants of our California flora. It grows into a large deciduous shrub or small tree and can reach 10-20 ft. tall and 10-15 ft. wide. Round green leaves, 2-3 in. wide are heart-shaped at the base. Showy clusters of pea-shaped flowers occur in early spring and range in color from light to deep magenta. Flat 2-3 in. long seedpods mature through spring and summer and persist while the plant is deciduous in winter.

Western redbud is one of the most popular native plants for California gardens. It naturally grows as a multi-branched shrub that can mature after many years into a small canopy tree. It grows well in sun to partial shade and in a variety of soil types, including clay. In hotter parts of the Inland Empire it does best with protection from hot summertime afternoon sun. It grows well with many plants on the Western Sycamore Palette.

Water Needs

The western redbud grows well throughout the Inland Empire with normal winter rainfall and moderate amounts of summer water. It should be noted there are several winter months marked by an asterisk (*) when rains can provide sufficient moisture and irrigation is not needed. The high and low range of moisture indicates it can grow with varying amounts of water; higher amounts of water will result in stronger springtime flowering performance and summer foliage character.

Irrigation Schedule and Graph

Moderate Water Use Plants

Irrigation Schedule 3

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
Runs per Month 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x 2x to 3x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 1x to 2x 2x to 3x 0x to 3x 0x to 3x
Inches per Run 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1" 1"
Inches per Month 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3" 2" to 3" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 1" to 2" 2" to 3" 0" to 3" 0" to 3"

Range of supplemental summer water: 9"-16"
Range of supplemental winter water: 0"-15"

  Jan* Feb* Mar* Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov* Dec*
For more information on how to use this Irrigation Schedule and Graph, follow this link.

For information how to calculate your irrigation system’s schedule and precipitation rate, please follow this link.

Plant Properties

Plant Type: Shrub, Native
Foliage Character: Winter deciduous
Habit: Open, Multi-trunk, Low-branching
Growth Rate: Moderate
Height: 10 ft. - 15 ft.
Width: 10 ft. - 20 ft.
Water Needs: Moderate 3
Foliage Color: Medium green
Flower Color: Magenta
Flower Season: Winter, Spring
Soil Adaptations: Well-draining soil, Silt, Loam, Clay
Exposure Adaptations: Morning sun, Moderate shade, All day sun, Partial sun
Function: Wildlife value, Specimen, Slopes, Raised planters, Parks and open space, Flowering accent plant, Banks, Attracts butterflies


Prune when dormant in winter as needed. An old western redbud that does not flower much anymore can be reinvigorated through "coppicing" by cutting all the way to the ground in the early spring. The plant will usually (but no guarantees) send up vigorous new shoots and start over with a new lease on life (2). Redbuds are best grown as multi-trunk trees or large shrubs, where older trunks can be removed as needed and younger new trunks are encouraged to grow from the base every five years or so. As older trunks grow thicker they flower less and eventually decline, so creating a cycle where larger trunks are removed as newer ones grow over time will keep plants alive and thriving longer (3). Either inorganic mulch, or organic mulch of 1-2 inch depth under canopy, but held away from trunk and root crown are ideal (D,S).



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