Plant Preview

Welcome to Plant Preview, a blog dedicated to helping gardeners learn about gardening techniques and preview new plant cultivars. Read about new plants here first and hear how your "comrades in compost" are making use of new plant introductions in their gardens and landscapes. Blog author Geri Laufer is a life-long dirt gardener, degreed horticulturist, author and former County Extension Agent. Plant Preview is copyrighted by Geri Laufer.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Unique Ruby Falls Redbud Combines Deep Color & Weeping Habit

The exciting landscape potential of this new cultivar is electrifying the nursery industry. 

Ruby Falls Redbud is exploding off the charts of woody plant desirability as an entirely new variety, displaying purple foliage on a small weeping form of this native understory tree.  A new and distinct cultivar, this attention-getting combo of features sets Ruby Falls apart from all other existing cultivars of redbud tree.

Ruby Falls, an F2 hybrid, inherited its weeping form from one parent plant: the weeping green 'Covey' redbud (aka Lavender Twist™), and its dark ruby-purple leaf color from another parent: 'Forest Pansy' redbud.  In combination these traits set Ruby Falls apart as a new specimen form.  

Weeping, pendulous, cascading Ruby Falls Redbud exhibits an excellent branching structure.  Zig-zaging branches form a cascading crown. The weeping tree reaches a moderate height of 4-6 feet and a spread 6-8 feet. 

Redbuds are true harbingers of spring. Ruby Falls blooms profusely in early spring when clusters of tiny hot pink rose-purple, pea-like flowers accentuate the bare, pendulous branches and mature trunks for 2-3 weeks (March-April) before the foliage emerges.  Flowers are attractive to pollinators and seed pods resembling snow peas appear in summer.

The rich, purple, heart-shaped leaves open bright ruby-purple in spring, then gradually mature to deep purple, and ultimately change to green as the season progresses. Fall color on this deciduous ornamental is yellow until leaf drop in early winter.  

Ruby Falls Redbud provides a spectacular pendulous waterfall of alluring color for garden and landscape and is perfectly suited to be a specimen or garden feature plant due to its eye-catching weeping form and large red foliage. Small gardens enjoy the elegance and small stature of Ruby Falls. The cultivar benefits from an exposure of part sun to shade and is easily grown in a range of well-drained soil types; do not overwater.  It is hardy in U.S.D.A. Zones 6 – 9.  Birds, butterflies and bees find Ruby Falls attractive and visit frequently.

For more information on Ruby Falls Redbud (PPAF) and other superior plant introductions brought to gardeners by Garden Debut®, visit

Statistics Chart for Ruby Falls Redbud (PPAF), F2 hybrid of Cercis canadensis ‘Covey’ (synonym Lavender Twist™) x Cercis canadensis 'Forest Pansy'
Plant Category:
 Deciduous flowering tree
Mature Height:
 4-6 feet
Mature Spread:
 6-8 feet
Mature Form:
 Weeping, pendulous, cascading form. The perfect specimen tree for
  small yards.

Growth Rate:
Sun Exposure:
 Best grown in part sun to shade
Heat Tolerance:
 Lovely choice for those gardeners and landscape designers looking for dark foliage on a small, weeping tree with added bonuses of flowering and native.
Soil Moisture:
 Well-drained soils, regular watering when establishing a new specimen
Soil Type:
 Loamy, Sandy, or Clay; wide range
Flower Color:
 Tiny, bright pink, rose-purple, pea-like flowers, profuse blooming
Bloom Time:
 Flowers on bare branches in early spring
Seed Pods:
 Flat pods resembling snow peas in summer
Summer Color:
Deciduous, heart-shaped  dark purple leaves, ultimately changing to green
Fall Color:
 Yellow color in autumn
pH Level:
 5.5 – 7.5
U.S., Breeder Dr. Dennis Werner, Plant Haven, Inc., CA on behalf of North Caroling State University
When performance counts, use Garden Debut® introductions


  1. Nice piece. "Carolina" is spelled incorrectly in the last line of the summary table.

  2. Thanks, Anonymous! Apologize for typo

  3. Just bought Ruby falls weeping redbud.....tag states 6 or more hours of sun .This article says part-sun or shade

  4. Dear Anonymous, part sun or shade in the Deep South, 6 or more hours of sun for gardens on the northern part of the range. Thanks for asking!

  5. Zones seem to be changing from a few decades ago - would this cultivar be suitable for the Finger Lakes area in upstate NY? (Zip Code 14513)

  6. Sorry - I should have specified NORTHERN Fingerlakes. We are between and a few miles north of the northern tips of Geneva and Canandaigua lakes.

  7. Dear Linda S, your lakes should provide some warming, but I'm not sure Ruby Falls has been tested there recently. What is your USDA Zone? Do your local nurseries carry the plant? What does your local Cooperative Extension Service think? If you try it, by all means let us know. thanks!

  8. I planted my redbud in the spring and it was doing great. We have had an abundance of rain in the last month. The last couple of days it looks droopy and the leaves are turning brown. Do you think it will bounce back?

  9. Fingers crossed, Anonymous! not sure but hoping that you provided excellent drainage in the planting hole and did not create a "bathtub effect" see this extension info:

  10. Only problem I find is that the deer in my area find this tree very tasty so I placed an 8' tall (overkill!) by 4' diameter cage around it. It is protected and I am able to see it. Ruby Falls is absolutely beautiful, especially in the spring with the bright pink flowers and followed by the red leaves! Love the weeping shape and small size. Put it in a meditation garden which is shady and it is doing well.

  11. Can Ruby Falls handle wind? I was considering it for a SW exposure, so in mid-late summer it would get quite a bit of sun, and at various points of the year, some pretty brisk winds.

  12. Should add it's in the Buffalo, NY area - recently reclassified from zone 5 to 6a

  13. I planted my 24.0 quart tree in April 2013 in Dallas, Texas , and it seems to be doing real well. Looking forward to the new spring flowers and foliage next spring!

  14. We are considering this beautiful tree concerned about sun. We are zone 7 USA NE Maryland boarding Pa and De. Can it tolerate full sun no shade? Thanks

  15. The Garden Debut website indicates SHADE

  16. I just purchased my Ruby Falls and it is beautiful. I'd like to plant in a pot of for the first summer to see how it performs in the sunny spot I selected. This would allow me to move to some shade if needed. Then I would transfer to the ground in the fall. Will it survive in a pot for the summer or should I go ahead and plant if the ground? I live in North Calolina.

  17. Hello, I was admiring someone's tree and think it is a Ruby Falls Redbud. It is weeping with LARGE heart shaped leaves the size of my hand. Does the Ruby Falls have leaves that large? I think I would like to have one in my yard. I live in NJ and the place I would plant one gets sun most of the day. Do you think that would be ok?

  18. Hi Lucinda, Is your location in NJ in USDA Hardiness Zone 6-9? B/c that's what is recommended for Ruby Falls.
    Best, Geri

  19. Hello, I am on the verge of purchasing a Ruby Falls Weeping Redbud, but would like to know if the roots would interfere with underground water lines? It is a beautiful tree!

  20. I should state that I am zone 7.

  21. I believe you mistakenly reversed you height and spread specifications. Height should be 6-8', Spread 4-6'.
    John Robilotti, LA

  22. I believe you mistakenly reversed the stated size specifications. Should be Height:6-8', Spread:4-6'. John Robilotti,LA

  23. My Ruby Falls is almost 4 ft. tall with branches spreading well over 6 ft. mostly on the ground. Do I need to prune the branches back and keep off the ground? That are growing through my other plants.