In Australia, Cercis canadensis or ‘Forest Pansy’ is the best known of the genus that includes C. siliquastrum and C. chinensis ‘Avondale’.
In its native habitat it is found widely in forested areas on the eastern side of North America.
This is a highly ornamental flowering tree much loved for the masses of deep pink flowers on bare wood in spring.
One of a group of slow growing deciduous small trees that can reach 10m. Heart shaped leaves emerging red and then turning a nice golden colour in Autumn.
Cercis canadensis would make a nice small specimen tree, however is does equally well at the back of the border given time to grow. In its natural habitat this is a tree that likes a little shade and in fact the foliage can tend to ‘burn’ a little in the hot Australian sun if grown in the open.
A new release with golden foliage is named ‘Chain of Hearts’ or ‘Hearts of Gold’ with golden heart shaped foliage. bred in USA.
A humus rich moist but well drained soil is best, sun to part shade, in warmer areas a little protection from the hot afternoon sun will keep the foliage looking great through summer.
With a slow to medium growth rate, this is a small tree that could be grown in a container or large pot. Little pruning is required except for the removal of any dead or diseased wood.
Problems and Further Care
Although Cercis canadensis are regarded as drought tolerant they do need a little care over the first few years. Without doubt they will flower more prolifically in full sun, however in Australian conditions they can suffer from leaf burn in extreme temperatures.
Best time to plant is in late summer as conditions cool down or in early spring, this allows some root development before the full heat of summer.
So as a rule, the hotter and drier the area the more shade in the afternoon is required to prevent leaf burn and, more watering will be required in hotter climates as well. At the same time good drainage is essential, water logged soil is not suitable.
They are also a tree that can take a while to flower in some situations, up to 6 – 7 years in some situations, although usually much less. Other issues include the dropping of small dead twigs on a regular basis, not a big issue but they do shed a little. Windy conditions can also cause damage.
Some of the lower limbs can be removed to facilitate mowing if required.
Propagation is from seed or from cuttings and yes they will actually self sow, so pull out any self sown plants.
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Cercis canadensis or ‘Forest Pansy’ are available from the following Nurseries and Growers
"Propagation and Production of Native and Exotic Trees
with Natural Root Systems from 2 to 2,000 lts."
WINTER HILL TREE FARM Ph: 02 4878 9193 Fax: 02 4878 9109
NSW Southern Highlands
Retail & Wholesale. Advanced trees & hedging. Grown in pots for year-round planting. 45 litre - 1000 litre available. Great range. Great Quality. Delivery available.
Carey Gully, Adelaide Hills.
Family run business selling advanced ornamental trees including 9 varieties of Crepe Myrtle, Maple, Birch, Ash, Ginko, Crab Apple, Ornamental Plum, Weeping Cherry, Oak & Chinese Tallow. Wholesale prices to the public.
55 McDougal Rd Neerim South Victoria 3831 PH: (03) 56281507
Advanced ornamental trees and garden designs and concept plans. Direct to your property combined with specialist knowledge and outstanding service.
125 Palmer Rd Jindivick 3818
Open Thursday - Sunday 10am - 4pm
Specialising in growing and selling Rare and Unusual Trees, shrubs Perennials Bulbs and Climbers, a unique nursery with amazing stock.
357 Monbulk Road SILVAN VIC 3795
Guaranteed "garden worthy" bulbs, plants and perennials. Visit the website to browse our large range of daffodils or request the latest free catalogue.