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Forest Pansy Redbud vs Eastern Redbud: Are They Similar?

Redbud, along with other flowering trees, occupies a special place in the gardens of many homeowners. Indeed, what could be more beautiful than a flowering tree?

The main difference between Forest Pansy Redbud and Eastern Redbud is the flowers and leaves. Eastern Redbud has pink flowers while Forest Pansy Redbud’s flowers are more purple. Also, the leaves of Forest Pansy Redbud are red-green while those of Eastern Redbud are just green.

We need to understand the taxonomy. Eastern Redbud is a flowering tree and its scientific name is Cercis canadensis. These plants are widespread in much of the United States and part of Mexico.

Forest Pansy Redbud is a variety of Eastern Redbud, i.e., its other name is Cercis canadensis Forest Pansy. This is an improved version of the species.

From all the above, it follows that today we will consider the difference between species and variety.

Forest Pansy Redbud vs Eastern Redbud

Forest Pansy Redbud and Eastern Redbud

  Forest Pansy Redbud Eastern Redbud
Hardiness zone 5-9 4-9
Mature height 20-30′ (6-9 m) 20-30′ (6-9 m)
Mature width 25-35′ (7.5-10.5 m) 20-30′ (6-9 m)
Growth rate fast fast
Light exposure full sun, partial shade full sun, partial shade
Soil moist, drained moist, drained
Soil pH 6.0-7.0 6.0-7.0
Watering One time per week in a drought One time per week in a drought
Diseases fungus, root rot fungus, root rot
Pests insects, mites insects, mites

Eastern Redbud tolerate frost better

Eastern Redbud is more resistant to low temperatures. Many gardeners grow it in hardiness zones 4-9. This tree can withstand -21F.

On the other hand, Forest Pansy Redbud is recommended to be grown from zone 5 to zone 9. However, there are cases when this variety died in zone 5 due to too severe frosts, which did not last long but caused irreparable damage.

You also need to take into account the fact that the amount of direct sun depends on the climatic zone in which you live.

In the north, both of these plants can tolerate full sun. But in the south, they should be planted in partial shade.

So, for now, the advantage is on the side of Eastern Redbud because it is better adapted to the climate of the northern United States and, as a result, is available to more gardeners.

Forest Pansy Redbud has an ornamental foliage

Forest Pansy Redbud has more decorative leaves than its competitor. The leaves have the brightest purple color in early spring when it first appears.

By mid-summer, it becomes burgundy, sometimes may have a red tinge. In autumn, the color changes to yellow.

Eastern Redbud leaves, on the other hand, are bright green in early spring. As it matures, it becomes pale green or can sometimes be brownish-green. It also turns yellow in autumn.

So, the leaves of Forest Pansy Redbud have a decorative look all season, which can not be said about Eastern Redbud.

Besides, the leaves of Forest Pansy Redbud are slightly longer. Their average length is 6 inches, while the Eastern Redbud leaves have an average of 4-5 inches in length.

Forest Pansy Redbud vs Eastern Redbud leaves

Forest Pansy Redbud and Eastern Redbud leaves.

All this makes the foliage of Forest Pansy Redbud much more beautiful.

However, to achieve a rich leaf color, you need to provide the Forest Pansy Redbud with the right amount of sunlight.

In excess light, the leaves will not be burgundy-red but will have a pale color. This is especially true in zones 8 and 9. Therefore, if you live in this climate, you need to limit the amount of sun for this variety to 8-10 hours a day.

In the absence of the sun (5-6 USDA zones), leaves will be brownish-green. Therefore, you should give this tree at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day.

The color of their flowers is different

The next difference between these two varieties is the color of the flowers.

Eastern Redbud flowers appear in early spring, and they are pink. Flowering lasts a little more than half a month.

Forest Pansy Redbud blooms at about the same time, but the color of its flowers has a purple tinge. Sometimes purple can be more pronounced.

So Forest Pansy Redbud has a slightly more exciting color of flowers than the competitor. But it also has a drawback, the number of flowers is less than in Eastern Redbud. This means that the last one blooms a little more abundantly.

It is difficult to say which of them blooms better. On the one hand, many people prefer purple to pink. On the other hand, more abundant flowering looks better.


Thanks to the hard work of breeders, today we can enjoy a wide range of redbud varieties. Some of them can be a great alternative to Forest Pansy Redbud and Eastern Redbud, so let’s take a quick look at them.

Ruby Falls Redbud

One of the most beautiful varieties is Ruby Falls Redbud. Its size is much smaller than today’s two, and it reaches up to 10 feet in height and up to 15 feet in width. This variety has a mushroom-like weeping shape that gives it additional attractiveness.

The color of Ruby Falls Redbud leaves, as in Forest Pansy Redbud, is dark purple. A distinctive feature is that the leaves are much wider and therefore more beautiful.

This variety also has good frost resistance and can be grown in zone 5.

The color of the flowers is pink with a slight tinge of purple. However, unlike other redbud trees, the flowers on the drooping branches look just fabulous.

Carolina Sweetheart Redbud

The next great alternative is Carolina Sweetheart Redbud. This is just a fantastic variety with variegated leaves, and part of the foliage turns red. This means that in addition to pink flowers, you get unique leaves with wonderful colors.

This redbud reaches up to 15 feet in height and a little more in width, i.e., it is a fairly compact tree, and you should not have problems with its placement.

Frost resistance is excellent. Carolina Sweetheart can be grown from 5 to 9 USDA hardiness zones.

This variety is sensitive to sunlight. To get bright colors of foliage, it needs at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight. But in hot climates in full sun, variegated leaves can burn. Therefore, in zones 7-9, it is recommended to plant this tree and partial shade.

Ace of Hearts Redbud Tree

Ace of Hearts Redbud Tree is an unusual dwarf-sized redbud. Leaves have a very distinctive heart shape, and they grow symmetrically, which gives a unique effect.

It blooms very abundantly with pink flowers and is not inferior to Eastern Redbud.

This variety reaches 12 feet in height and 15 in width. Due to its compact size, it does not require much effort to maintain. It can be grown, like most redbud trees, from 5 to 9 USDA zones.