Have you noticed over the last week or so the brilliant purple/magenta flowering trees with a wavy and layered branch structure that cause the stunning masses of blossoms to seem as if they are floating on air? If so, you are probably enjoying the visual feast provided by the Minnesota Strain Redbud.
This northern hardy strain of Redbud is a seeding selection made by the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and has been quite successful in the southern half of Minnesota over the last several decades when planted in properly drained soils that still have good moisture availability. It’s probably best to avoid planting Minnesota Strain Redbuds in soggy wet ground as well as very sandy/gravely soils.
One of the reasons the blossoms of Minnesota Strain Redbud seem to float on air is that they open before any leaves appear on the twigs and branches and are often so numerous that the blossoms obscure the branches. I love intense color, and few flowering plants can match the electric neon purple of the Minnesota Strain Redbuds for color intensity.
Minnesota Strain Redbuds are available as single stem trees and as multi-stem clumps, each form having its own special characteristics and both forms mature to about 20′-25′ tall and wide. Some people think that Redbuds should be planted in protected areas, but I have seen them doing well even in open areas including our tree fields which are exposed to all the extremes of our climate.
Try to position your Redbud where it will get a half day of direct sun or more. While Minnesota Strain Redbuds will tolerate a place where they only get a few hours of sun each day, I have noticed that they have better branch structure and more blossoms when they receive 6 or more hours of direct sun during the 14-15 hour long days from late April to late August.
One of the biggest reasons I absolutely love Minnesota Strain Redbud is their long bloom time of about three to four weeks. Most other species of flowering trees bloom for 7 to 10 days. Redbuds commonly put on a show of passion purple for 18-30 days!
The sad and untimely death of Prince last week ironically came just as the Minnesota Strain Redbuds began to show their finest purple. Wouldn’t a memorial planting of Minnesota Strain Redbuds be a nice way to honor one of Minnesota’s home grown creative music legends? Each spring the dazzling purple blossoms would be a reminder of a Minnesota iconic genius who dearly loved his home state!