Plant DetailShow Menu

Hearts of Gold Redbud Cercis canadensis 'Hearts of Gold'

Phonetic Spelling
SER-sis kan-a-DEN-sis
Description

'Hearts of Gold' is a cultivar of the native redbud tree in the bean family (Fabaceae). It will grow 20-25 feet tall and 25-35 feet wide. This tree was first found growing in a garden in Greensboro, NC in 2002. It was then asexually reproduced by a nursery in TN and eventually marketed as 'Hearts of Gold' in 2007 under U.S. Plant Patent PP17,740.

The genus name Cercis comes from the Greek word kerkis, which means weaver's shuttle, referring to the fact that the seed pod resembles the size and shape of a weaver's shuttle used to move thread back and forth on a loom.

This tree produces gold-colored heart-shaped leaves in spring. In full sun the leaves maintain their color into summer and then change to chartreuse. In part shade, the leaves will be a greener chartreuse. In early spring the pinkish purple pea-shaped flowers appear before leaf-out along the stems. This cultivar will bloom on 1-year-old stems rather than 2 year old as most of the other cultivars do.

'Hearts of Gold' needs full sun to partial shade in moderately fertile well-drained moist soils. It is pH adaptable and deer resistant but doesn't tolerate wet soils. Keep the soil evenly moist the first year and water during periods of drought thereafter. Be sure to choose your site carefully as redbuds do not transplant well due to a deep tap root. 

Plant this tree as a specimen in a pollinator garden, as an understory tree in a wooded landscape, in small groups, or mass planted for a dramatic springtime effect. It may also be planted as a street or lawn tree but is very sensitive to herbicides and chemicals sprayed on lawns.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: Insect pests include leafhoppers, caterpillars, borers, Japanese beetles, treehoppers, scale, and webworms. Possible diseases include canker, dieback, leaf spots, verticillium wilt, blights, and mildew.   It can be a short-lived tree, typically living less than 75 years. 

VIDEO Created by Elizabeth Meyer for "Trees, Shrubs and Conifers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.

 

 

 

More information on Cercis canadensis.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbird friendly#showy flowers#small tree#purple flowers#pink flowers#showy leaves#spring flowers#understory tree#squirrel friendly#deer resistant#larval host plant#bird friendly#bee friendly#ornamental tree#butterfly caterpillar host
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hummingbird friendly#showy flowers#small tree#purple flowers#pink flowers#showy leaves#spring flowers#understory tree#squirrel friendly#deer resistant#larval host plant#bird friendly#bee friendly#ornamental tree#butterfly caterpillar host
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Cercis
    Species:
    canadensis
    Family:
    Fabaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Wildlife Value:
    12 species of Lepidoptera use this tree as a larval host plant. Leafcutter bees (such as Megachile rotundata) and other bees use this plant (as shown in a picture). Host plant for Henry's Elfin butterfly. Butterflies and other insects nectar from the flowers. Caterpillars appear from February to May and have one flight. Adult Henry's Elfin butterflies feed on flower nectar. Songbirds and small mammals occasionally eat the seeds.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Deer
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 25 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 30 ft. 0 in. - 35 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Legume
    Fruit Length:
    1-3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    By summer (after flowers) but possibly lasting through fall and even winter, this plant has green turning to brown, flat, oblong seedpods (with about 9 seeds per pod) which are about 2 to 4 inches long. The brown seed pods can look a little untidy hanging from the tree into the winter.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Umbel
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Long-lasting
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Irregular
    Lipped
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small showy pinkish-purple pea-shaped flowers appear early spring before leafing out in clusters of about 7 flowers. Individual flowers are 1/2 inch wide
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Oval heart-shaped semi-glossy leaves are 3-5 inches long and wide. New growth on the gold leaves is reddish. The gold leaves gradually change to chartreuse during the summer.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Orange
    Surface/Attachment:
    Scaly
    Bark Description:
    Dark brown to black with orange inner bark that can be visible. Smooth when young, but developing long, narrow plates that separate into scales as the tree matures.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Slender, glabrous, dark reddish brown to black stems are spreading and ascending
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Lawn
    Patio
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    English Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Specimen
    Street Tree
    Understory Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Hummingbirds
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Black Walnut
    Compaction
    Deer
    Fire
    Problems:
    Short-lived