The showy Rising Sun redbud

McClatchy-Tribune News ServiceAugust 22, 2013 

The Rising Sun redbud offers three seasons of beauty lighting up the landscape.

MCT

The Rising Sun is, simply put, spectacular. To know that it has those glorious purple rose spring blooms is just icing on the cake. The leaves and with their fiery glow all summer is the real reward. I spotted these growing 100 yards away and was drawn like a computerized missile.

The Rising Sun is indeed a selection of our native redbud, Cercis canadensis. I say ours, because it is native over such a huge range - some 32 states and as far north as Canada.

The Rising Sun is the perfect size for today's urban landscape. It reaches about 12 feet in height with a rounded structure. On this day in early August I was seeing typical dark green heart-shaped leaves with all new growth revealing yellow-gold, orange and apricot-red. As a horticulturist my first thought would have been that the leaves would have surely been torched without ample shade, but this was not the case. The hardiness is listed as zones 5-8.

Since it is such a new variety you may have to diligently search for one. Be sure to ask your most progressive garden center to get them for you. I say them because this is such an awesome variety you will probably want three or four to spread though out the landscape.

Select a site in full sun. This will give you the best blooming in the spring and leaf coloring during the growing season. Don't panic if you have a little afternoon shade. It is ideal to plant when trees are dormant but I assure you if I find mine leafed out I am still buying and planting. This has really become the norm with today's excellent container grown stock.

Dig your planting hole two to three times the width of the rootball, but no deeper. The rootball's top should be even with the soil line. Then apply a good layer of mulch to conserve moisture and deter weeds. This incredible variety deserves to be planted in a large bed versus surrounded by turf.

Typically you think of a redbud in companionship with other spring bloomers like azaleas, dogwoods and spring flowering bulbs. This would certainly work but the vibrant summer colors means that it can you could use in a tropical like setting where coarse textured foliage from elephant ears, cannas and bananas would create a stunning partnership.

The Rising Sun redbud will certainly open up the door to plant combinations most of us have never considered for eastern redbuds. This is especially true now that we have a selection that is riveting in the hot summer months. Talk to your garden center today.

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