Judas tree is a small spring-blooming tree that is simply beautiful.
Key Judas tree facts
Name – Cercis silliquastrum
Family – Fabaceae
Type – tree
Height – 20 to 25 feet (6 to 8 m)
Exposure – full sun or light shade
Soil – ordinary to limestone
Foliage – deciduous
Flowering – April to May
Its purple pink flowers appear just before its leaves do, thus decorating your garden from April onwards.
Planting Judas tree
Preferably in fall or winter as long as it doesn’t freeze.
It is quite sensitive to the soil type and prefers chalky or limestone soil. It abhors acidic soil. It will also grow better in rather rich, deep soil.
- Avoid spots exposed to too much strong wind.
- Favor sun.
- Water over the first year and protect roots with mulch in winter.
- Follow our advice on planting trees.
Pruning and caring for Judas tree
Judas tree naturally takes on a very elegant shape when it is left to grow without pruning. Still, you can slow its growth or reshape it somewhat if needed.
- It isn’t really mandatory to prune it.
- Pruning is only needed if you wish to balance the figure or reduce the size. Prune right after the blooming.
- Flowers appear on stems grown during the previous year, so if you prune in fall you’ll probably be cutting of all the flower buds.
Growing and caring for Judas tree
The Judas tree is a very easy tree because it has the advantage of resisting the cold and freezing with a hardiness equivalent to 5°F (-15°C).
- It is doted on for its lifespan that can reach 100 years if in good growing conditions.
During the first years, feel free to provide soil conditioner to the foot of the tree to ensure its growth and blooming.
All there is to know about the Judas tree
According to the legend, this is the tree that Judas the apostle hung himself, it is found everywhere in Israel. That might be why that name stuck. But it might also simply come from the fact that it is native to Judea.
The abundant pink blooming is one of the most distinctive features of the Judas tree. It is quite easy to care for and grows relatively fast.
Native to Europe and Asia minor, you’ll find this tree appealing in spring of course with its fabulous flowering as you will in fall when it takes on luminous golden colors.
Lastly, note that it will stand out just as much whether it is planted as a standalone or paired with other trees. Planting it alone highlights its beautiful bearing, so that is worth doing if you’ve got space.
A few remarkable Judas tree cultivars
- Cercis canadensis bears magnificent white flowers, it is native ot North America.
- Cercis siliquastrum, one of the most common varieties, is very hardy to freezing, down to 5°F (-15°C) and even 1.5°F (-17°C).
- Cercis chinensis, one of the shortest – 6 ½ feet (2 meters) only – resists the cold less and doesn’t tolerate temperatures lower than 23°F (-5°C).
The botanical name “Cercidiphyllum” translates into “leaves like those of Cercis”.
Smart tip about Judas tree
At the beginning, mulch around the trunk to keep it cool in summer and protect it from winter frost.