A multi-stemmed small tree, the Chinese redbud (Cercis chinensis) is easy to grow as a singular specimen plant or incorporated into a mixed border. Cultivar Avondale is exceptional with an upright, almost vase-shaped habit and produces violet-pink blossoms in early to mid-spring. It is grown in USDA hardiness zones 6 through 8, and in the colder parts of zone 9.
Avondale redbud needs at least 6 hours of direct sunlight daily for best growth habit and flowering. In hot summer climates, consider a location that is lightly shaded in summer during the afternoons. Don't plant it in a soggy soil area, rather choose a deep soil that is well-draining and fertile, where other plants already grow without trouble. This tree tolerates droughts and winter cold to a temperature down to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. It even prospers and blooms magnificently in cold deserts, such as in Kingman, Arizona or Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The Planting Hole
Measure the root ball of the redbud tree. Dig your hole the same depth as the root ball and make the hole two to three times wider. A wide planting hole loosens and primes the soil to allow for better root growth outward from the root ball. In heavier clay soil, consider planting the root ball 1 to 2 inches above the soil grade to ensure excellent drainage of water around the tree-trunk base. Do not add fertilizer or compost to the soil mixture that will fill the hole around the tree.
Once the tree is planted, water the area well, so that any air pockets in the ground are removed. Form a small mound of soil around the tree base to create a basin to catch irrigation water. Place compost or bark mulch on top of the planting area to a depth of 3 to 4 inches. Water the tree every one to two days for the first two weeks, and then slowly lengthen the time in between waterings for the next two to three months. Never allow the soil to become dry. Do not fertilize the tree until the next early spring, after the tree has been in the ground for at least one growing season.