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Products > Cercis canadensis 'Merlot' PP22,297
 
Cercis canadensis 'Merlot' PP22,297 - Merlot Eastern Redbud
   

 
Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Tree
Family: Caesalpiniaceae (~Fabales)
Origin: Northeast (U.S.) (North America)
Red/Purple Foliage: Yes
Flower Color: Rose Pink
Bloomtime: Spring
Synonyms: [C. canadensis var. texensis 'Merlot', 'NC2004-6']
Parentage: (C. 'Texas White' x C. c. 'Forest Pansy')
Height: 15-20 feet
Width: 10-15 feet
Exposure: Sun or Shade
Irrigation (H2O Info): Medium Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: <15 F
Cercis canadensis 'Merlot' PP22,297 (Merlot Redbud) - A deciduous tree that grows to 15 to 20 feet tall by nearly as wide with attractive heart-shaped glossy leaves are 4 to 6 inches long by 2 to 4 inches wide, arranged in an alternate pattern along the branches. New growth emerges deep purple and matures to a burgundy color before transitioning to green in late summer and then and then turning yellow as they begin to senesce in the fall. From late winter to early spring this variety holds an attractive display of many bright reddish purple flowers along bare branches. Plant in full sun to light shade. This plant adapts well to a variety of soils, including sandy, clay, alkaline or acidic, occasionally wet but most importantly well drained. It is fairly dry growing once established but looks better with occasional irrigation in summer. Cold hardy to at least 0 degrees F - has been trialed successfully in USDA Zone 7a and likely with be useful in gardens in USDA Zones 6 and above. As with other Cercis varieties this plant typically has an irregular growth habit when young but forms a nice flat-topped, vase shape as it gets older. If lower branches are left it will form a graceful multi-trunked specimen. Requires selective pruning at an early age to develop a strong branch structure and with thin bark is easily damaged from mechanical impact such as mowers and trimmers. We are growing this plant as a replacement for the very popular Cercis 'Forest Pansy'. It is more compact growing and though the leaves are not as dark purple as 'Forest Pansy' they do not yellow like 'Forest Pansy' during the growing season, but remain attractive through the summer, only turning yellow as they senesce in the fall. The name Cercis is from the Greek word 'kerkis' which is a weaver's shuttle in reference to the shape of the fruit. The species Cercis canadensis is a plant that is native to much of eastern North America from southern Ontario in Canada south to Florida and west to eastern Texas and Oklahoma. The variety texensis, which is sometimes listed as a subspecies, ranges from the mountains of southern Oklahoma south through the limestone soils of central Texas into northeastern Mexico. This cultivar was introduced in 2009 by North Carolina State University in conjunction with the JC Ralston Arboretum. It was bred by Dr. Dennis Werner, the plant breeder in the Department of Horticultural Science and was the selection of second generation (F2) seedlings from plants resulting in the cross between C. canadensis var. texensis 'Texas White' and Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'. The objective of this breeding program was to develop a purple leafed form of redbud that exhibited the foliage character and growth habit of the Texas redbud with its smaller glossy leaves and semi-upright growth habit. The original parent trees were adjacent trees in a North Carolina State University campus landscape planting from which seed was collected in 1998 and these seedlings reared in isolation at the Sandhills Research Station in Jackson Springs, North Carolina. The seedlings flowered in 2002 from which this dark red-leafed cultivar, then designated as 'NC2004-6', was selected. 'Merlot' was selected for its thicker glossier leaves with attractive purple-leaf color and semi-upright growth habit, abundant bright lavender flowers and superior heat tolerance. It is also is noted as setting fewer seed pods than most redbuds so has a tidier appearance in the landscape. With better heat tolerance this plant should prove more adaptable to Southern California gardens than the widely planted 'Forest Pansy'. It received US Plant Patent PP22,297 in 2011.  This description is based on our research and observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery garden and in other gardens that we have visited. We will also incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have some additional information about this plant, in particular if this information is contrary to what we have written or if they have additional cultural tips that would aid others in growing Cercis canadensis 'Merlot' PP22,297.
 
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