Eastern Redbud (Cercis Canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’)

Plant: Table of Contents

The Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’)

The Eastern Redbud, scientifically known as Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’, is a stunning flowering tree that adds charm and beauty to landscapes with its lovely pink blossoms and distinctive heart-shaped leaves. As a plant scientist, I will delve into the details of this captivating tree, covering its culture, uses, care requirements, common diseases and pests, and botanical tips for growing and maintaining it.

What is the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’)?

The Eastern Redbud, a member of the Fabaceae family, is native to eastern North America. It is recognized for its delicate, rosy-pink flowers that bloom profusely on bare branches in early spring, providing a breathtaking display of color. The botanical name Cercis canadensis is derived from the Greek word karkis, meaning “weaver’s shuttle,” alluding to the flat, woody seedpods that resemble a weaver’s shuttle. The addition of ‘Pauline Lily’ signifies a specific cultivar or variety of the species.

Eastern Redbuds are small to medium-sized deciduous trees, typically reaching heights of 20 to 30 feet with an open, multi-stemmed growth habit. The leaves are alternate and simple, with an attractive heart shape, and they turn a lovely yellow hue in the fall. This ornamental tree is a popular choice for residential and public landscapes due to its captivating spring blooms and graceful form.

Key Takeaways – Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’)

Before delving into the details of the Eastern Redbud’s characteristics, care requirements, and uses, here are some key takeaways about this mesmerizing flowering tree:

  • Scientific Name: Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’
  • Common Names: Eastern Redbud, Pauline Lily Redbud
  • Family: Fabaceae
  • Native Habitat: Eastern North America
  • Growth Habit: Small to medium-sized deciduous tree with an open, multi-stemmed form
  • Flower Color: Rosy-pink
  • Foliage: Heart-shaped leaves, turning yellow in the fall
  • Uses: Ornamental tree in landscapes, gardens, and urban environments

Now, let’s explore the various aspects of the Eastern Redbud, including its culture, uses, care requirements, common diseases, and botanical tips for successful cultivation.

Culture of Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’)

Understanding the cultural requirements of the Eastern Redbud is essential for ensuring its optimal growth and development. This includes considerations for water, sunlight, fertilizer, soil, and pruning practices.


Proper watering is crucial for the establishment and ongoing health of Eastern Redbud trees. While mature trees are relatively drought-tolerant, consistent moisture is essential, especially during the early stages of growth and flowering. Adequate watering can help promote robust bloom production and maintain the tree’s overall vitality.

  • Watering Guidelines:
  • Young Trees: Newly planted or young trees should be watered regularly, especially during the first year after planting. Ensure that the soil around the tree remains consistently moist but not waterlogged.
  • Mature Trees: Established trees generally require less frequent watering, although they should still receive adequate moisture during dry spells or prolonged periods of drought. Deep watering is beneficial to encourage strong root development.


Eastern Redbud trees thrive in locations with ample sunlight, although they also tolerate partial shade. When selecting a planting site, consider the tree’s need for full to partial sun exposure to ensure optimal flowering and foliage development.

  • Sunlight Requirements:
  • Full Sun: Ideally, Eastern Redbuds should be planted in areas that receive full sun, where they can bask in direct sunlight for the majority of the day. This promotes prolific flowering and robust leaf growth.
  • Partial Shade: While the tree can tolerate partial shade, reducing sun exposure may result in fewer blooms and less dense foliage.


Fertilizing Eastern Redbud trees can contribute to their overall health and vigor, supporting vigorous growth, abundant flowering, and strong root development. Utilizing a balanced, slow-release fertilizer formulated for flowering trees can provide the necessary nutrients for optimal performance.

  • Fertilization Recommendations:
  • Timing: Apply fertilizer in early spring before the onset of new growth. Avoid fertilizing during late summer or early fall, as this can stimulate late-season growth that may be susceptible to cold damage.
  • Application: Spread the fertilizer evenly within the tree’s drip line, avoiding direct contact with the trunk. Water the area thoroughly after application to aid in nutrient absorption.


The Eastern Redbud thrives in well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. While the tree is adaptable to various soil types, providing a fertile, loamy substrate can support robust growth and flowering.

  • Soil Requirements:
  • Drainage: Ensure that the planting site has good drainage to prevent waterlogging, which can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues.
  • Organic Matter: Amending the soil with compost or organic matter can enhance its fertility and structure, providing an optimal growing environment for the tree.


Pruning is an essential aspect of Eastern Redbud care, contributing to its form, health, and blooming performance. Proper pruning practices can help maintain the tree’s shape, remove dead or diseased wood, and encourage prolific flowering.

  • Pruning Guidelines:
  • Timing: Prune Eastern Redbud trees during the dormant season, typically in late winter or early spring before new growth emerges. This allows the tree to heal efficiently and minimizes stress on the plant.
  • Techniques: Use sharp, clean pruning tools to make precise cuts. Remove dead, damaged, or crossing branches, and shape the tree as desired to maintain an attractive silhouette.

Uses of Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’)

The Eastern Redbud holds versatile uses in landscaping, gardens, and urban environments, contributing to its popularity as an ornamental tree. Its captivating flowers, attractive foliage, and adaptable nature make it a desirable choice for various applications.

  • Ornamental Accent: Eastern Redbud trees serve as striking focal points in landscapes, adding an enchanting burst of color with their spring blooms. They can be planted as standalone specimens or incorporated into mixed plantings to enhance visual interest.

  • Wildlife Habitat: The tree’s nectar-rich flowers attract pollinators, including bees and butterflies, while its seedpods provide a food source for birds and small mammals. Eastern Redbuds contribute to local ecosystems by supporting diverse wildlife populations.

  • Urban Landscapes: Due to its moderate size and ornamental appeal, Eastern Redbud trees are well-suited for urban and suburban environments. They can be planted along streets, in parks, and within residential neighborhoods to add beauty and ecological benefits.

  • Garden Specimen: In home gardens and public botanical gardens, Eastern Redbuds are cherished for their captivating display of color, resilience, and adaptability. They are often featured in spring garden showcases and horticultural displays.

Propagation of Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’)

Propagation is the process of creating new plants from existing specimens, allowing for the expansion of Eastern Redbud populations and the preservation of specific cultivars such as ‘Pauline Lily.’ Several methods can be employed to propagate Eastern Redbud trees, each with its unique advantages and considerations.

  • Seeds: Collecting and sowing Eastern Redbud seeds is a common propagation method that allows for genetic diversity and the development of new varieties. However, seed-grown trees may exhibit variability in flower color and growth habit.

  • Cuttings: Propagating Eastern Redbud through hardwood cuttings or softwood cuttings can yield genetically identical clones of the parent plant, preserving the characteristics of the ‘Pauline Lily’ cultivar.

  • Grafting: Grafting is a technique used to join a scion (desired cultivar) onto a compatible rootstock, ensuring that the resulting tree possesses the traits of the selected variety. This method is often employed in commercial propagation to maintain specific cultivars and desirable traits.

Common Diseases of Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’)

Like all plants, Eastern Redbud trees are susceptible to certain diseases that can impact their growth and appearance. Understanding the common diseases and their symptoms is essential for early detection and effective management.

Disease Diagnosis

Recognizing the signs of common diseases that affect Eastern Redbuds is crucial for implementing timely and targeted treatments. Here are some prevalent diseases and their diagnostic characteristics:

  • Anthracnose: Anthracnose is a fungal disease that causes dark, irregularly shaped lesions on leaves, often leading to defoliation and reduced vigor in affected trees. Wet spring weather can contribute to the spread of anthracnose.

  • Verticillium Wilt: This soil-borne fungal disease can cause wilting, yellowing, and dieback in Eastern Redbud trees. Affected branches may exhibit discoloration in the wood, and the foliage can show signs of decline.

  • Canker Diseases: Cankers are localized areas of dead tissue on branches or trunks, often caused by fungal or bacterial pathogens. They can present as sunken, discolored lesions that may ooze sap or exhibit bark cracking.

  • Powdery Mildew: Powdery mildew appears as a white, powdery growth on the foliage, often affecting the leaves of Eastern Redbuds. It can result in distorted growth and reduced photosynthetic capacity.

Disease Prevention and Management

Implementing preventive measures and prompt management strategies can help safeguard Eastern Redbud trees from common diseases, preserving their health and vitality.

  • Cultural Practices: Proper cultural care, including adequate watering, appropriate pruning, and soil management, can contribute to the overall resilience of the tree, reducing its susceptibility to diseases.

  • Fungicide Treatments: In cases where fungal diseases are prevalent, targeted fungicide applications can be employed to mitigate the spread of pathogens and protect the tree’s foliage.

  • Sanitation: Removing and disposing of diseased plant material, including fallen leaves and infected branches, can help prevent the recurrence and spread of diseases within the tree and the surrounding environment.

Common Pests Affecting Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’)

In addition to diseases, Eastern Redbud trees can be subject to pest infestations that may compromise their health and appearance. Identifying common pests and implementing integrated pest management approaches are essential for preventing and managing infestations effectively.

Pest Identification

Several insect pests can target Eastern Redbud trees, causing damage to the foliage, stems, or overall tree health. Recognizing the signs of common pests can aid in early detection and intervention.

  • Japanese Beetles: These metallic green beetles can skeletonize the leaves of Eastern Redbuds, leading to extensive foliar damage if populations are not controlled.

  • Caterpillars: Various caterpillar species, including inchworms and tent caterpillars, may feed on the foliage of Eastern Redbuds, resulting in defoliation and reduced vigor.

  • Scale Insects: Scale insects can infest the branches and stems of Eastern Redbuds, feeding on plant sap and potentially weakening the tree over time.

  • Aphids: Aphids may congregate on the new growth of Eastern Redbud trees, causing distortion of leaves and excreting honeydew, which can lead to the growth of sooty mold.

Pest Management

Integrating pest management strategies can help mitigate pest pressure and protect Eastern Redbud trees from infestations, supporting their overall health and vitality.

  • Biological Control: Encouraging beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, can aid in controlling aphid populations and limiting pest damage organically.

  • Horticultural Oils: Applying horticultural oils during the dormant season can help suffocate overwintering pests and their eggs, reducing the likelihood of infestations in the spring.

  • Insecticidal Treatments: Targeted applications of insecticidal sprays or systemic insecticides can be utilized to address severe pest infestations, following safe and appropriate application practices.

Botanist’s Tips for Growing Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’)

As a plant scientist, I offer the following expert tips for successfully growing and maintaining Eastern Redbud trees, ensuring their optimal performance and longevity in the landscape.

  • Selecting a Planting Site: Choose a well-drained location with ample sunlight for planting Eastern Redbud trees, providing a favorable environment for their growth and flowering.

  • Pruning Guidelines: Prune Eastern Redbuds in late winter to early spring to promote healthy growth and maintain an attractive form. Remove dead or diseased wood and shape the tree as needed.

  • Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the tree to conserve soil moisture, regulate temperature, and suppress weed growth. Leave a gap between the mulch and the trunk to prevent moisture accumulation.

  • Seasonal Care: Monitor the tree’s water needs throughout the growing season, adjusting irrigation based on weather conditions and soil moisture levels.

  • Integrated Pest Management: Implement a proactive approach to pest management, including regular inspections, cultural practices, and targeted treatments if necessary, to minimize pest damage.

Fun Facts about Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’)

  • The Eastern Redbud is the state tree of Oklahoma, where it is celebrated for its springtime beauty and ecological significance.

  • The flowers of Eastern Redbud trees are edible and can be used to add a splash of color to salads or desserts.

  • In addition to its ornamental value, Eastern Redbuds have historical and cultural significance, with Native American communities utilizing various parts of the tree for traditional purposes.

Links to External Resources

For additional information, resources, and visual references related to the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’), consider exploring the following links:

In conclusion, the Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Pauline Lily’) stands as a remarkable ornamental tree, captivating observers with its vibrant pink blossoms, graceful form, and ecological contributions. By understanding its cultural needs, uses, propagation methods, disease and pest management strategies, and botanist’s tips, enthusiasts and horticulturalists can cultivate and appreciate this enchanting tree in various landscapes and settings.

As a plant scientist, I encourage the exploration and stewardship of this remarkable native tree, promoting its conservation, cultural significance, and ecological benefits in horticulture and natural environments. If you have the opportunity, consider adding this captivating species to your landscape and experiencing the beauty and charm of the Eastern Redbud firsthand.

Picture of Peter Taylors

Peter Taylors

Expert botanist who loves plants. His expertise spans taxonomy, plant ecology, and ethnobotany. An advocate for plant conservation, he mentors and educates future botanists, leaving a lasting impact on the field.