Clara A. Curtis is the director of design at the North Carolina Arboretum, and gardens at her home in Haywood County.

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Whitewater Red Bud
by Clara A. Curtis       #Plant Profile   #Trees   #Unusual   #Variegated

Cercis canadensis ‘Whitewater’ is a “hot plant” out of North Carolina and a North American native tree too! This small, deciduous tree with beautifully variegated white and green leaves was developed by Dr. Dennis Werner at North Carolina State University. It’s a good choice to incorporate into your garden where contrasting foliage color is desired. Traditional magenta-pink flowers of the redbud emerge in the early spring on bare branches, followed by the intriguing white variegated leaves. Some leaves appear to be spattered with paint, while others are blotchy in appearance, but all variegation is a bright white.

As summer progresses the leaves will lose some of their variegation, but the tree maintains its small weeping form. This tree is a hybrid cross between Cercis x ‘Silver Cloud’ and ‘Covey’.

Select a garden location where this tree can be enjoyed in combination with other small shrubs and perennials. Cercis canadensis ‘Whitewater’ is a perfect specimen plant when strategically placed in a white-themed garden or any collector’s garden, adding height and four seasons of interest with its form, flowers and foliage.


Common Name: Whitewater red bud.

Botanical Name: Cercis canadensis ‘Whitewater’.

Color: Magenta flowers typical of species.

Blooming Period: Early March into April.

Type: Deciduous tree.

Size: Width (at 10 years) is 2 to 3 feet and height (at 10 years) is 5 to 7 feet.

Exposure: Full sun to part shade.

Hardiness Zone: 6 to 9.

When to Plant: Plant in the fall or early spring to establish a good root system prior to hot weather.

Soil: Well-drained, moist soils.

Watering: Water well once per week to establish good root system.

When to Fertilize: At planting time.

(From Carolina Gardener. Photos courtesy of Clara A. Curtis.)



Posted: 02/17/12   RSS | Print


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