Judas Tree - care and wintering

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Judas Tree - Cercis siliquastrum

The heart-shaped 6 to 12 cm long leaves of the Judas tree appear even before the foliage is expelled. They are colored blue-green on top and have a gray-green underside. In autumn, the leaves turn ocher to orange yellow. In April, the plant is decorated with pink, delicately fragrant and clustered flowers. These grow partly directly from the trunk of the perennial timber (Stammbl├╝tigkeit), which is considered a botanical peculiarity. The inflorescences are grape-shaped and consist of only 3 to 6 flowers.
The fruits of the Judas tree form from the flower and show up in the form of brown, elongated pods, which often get stuck until spring. They have about a size of 5 to 6 cm. The smooth bark of the tree is gray to gray-green in color and turns dark brown with age. The branches are shiny and colored in a dark brown.


The Judas tree is found in different species, which are characterized by different flower colors. For example, in addition to the pink flowers, there are also pure white flowers. Among the best known types include:
  • Chinese Judas treewhich is quite resistant to frost
  • Canadian Judas tree, which is very robust and forms reddish foliage
  • Albawhose flowers are white
  • Common Judas tree, which is very sensitive to frost at a young age

Size and growth

The plant used as ornamental wood reaches a height of 4 to 8 meters, in rare cases more. In width, the tree reaches dimensions of about 4 to 6 meters. With age, he forms a sweeping, loose crown. The plant grows about 30 to 50 cm per year and thus belongs to the normal-growing trees.


In addition to the Stammbl├╝tigkeit the flowers have another special feature. They have a sweet-sour taste and are edible. Especially in salads they are often used. The fruits are also edible but have an unusual taste. The wood of the Judas tree is considered particularly hard and has a great grain. Therefore, it is used as plywood.


Canadian Judas Tree - Cercis canadensis

This multi-stemmed small tree loves it very sunny and warm and should be planted a little sheltered from the wind. The Judas tree preferably sits in a rather dry, permeable and calcareous clay soil. Against dryness the tree is very resistant. It is hardy to minus 16┬░ C, however, young trees should be protected in the first few winters, provided they grow in cold areas. The plant is very versatile and is ideal for fence or facade greening. Since it is very easy to maintain, it is often used as a park plant, in pedestrian areas or in front gardens. In some locations, however, the tree forms Wurzelausl├Ąufer, with which he can cause damage to flooring even in many meters away. The Judas tree can be just like climbing plants on the trellis and is suitable as a specimen plant and as a plant in groups.

Cut and multiply

A cut is rarely necessary and should only be done on bald, damaged or diseased branches. The picturesque growth of the Judas tree is negatively influenced by a cut. An increase of the tree takes place via cuttings or sowing and is very difficult. Therefore, this is reserved to the expert.
Further care instructions:
  • Planting time: at best spring
  • Preparation of the soil: in heavy soils, mix in some potting soil
  • Fertilization: not required for correct location, in bucket every 14 days
  • Watering: water moderately, the soil should never dry out completely
  • Overwinter: Potted plants should be kept in frost-free and bright rooms

Diseases and pests

The Judas tree is very resistant to diseases. However, it is one of the most infested trees when it comes to Verticillium wilting. Noticeable is the disease in that the tree gets withered leaves despite sufficient water supply. First, some shoots die, then branches, and eventually the whole tree. If the bark is scraped off near the ground, brown-colored lines become visible. This is a sure sign of the Verticillium-Welke. The pathogens are harmful fungi that can clog the tree's water pipes. If infested with this disease, the branches should be cut far back into the healthy wood. However, the Judas tree does not have particularly great chances after infestation. Control agents do not help here.
If the plant has fallen victim to the disease, it may make sense to dispose of the tree together with the roots and the entire earth in the trash. The pathogens can easily survive in the soil for many years and be transmitted to other plants.For prevention, the culture conditions should be optimally maintained and the roots should not be damaged.
In addition to this disease, however, similar symptoms may occur with a less dangerous cause. Often it is a harmless fungal disease or false culture conditions. In these problems, however, the water pipes are not clogged, which makes the distinction easily possible. To combat the fallen leaves should be removed from the ground. Dead branches can be completely removed directly. Infested shoots should be cut back about 50 cm deep into healthy wood. In addition, it is important in this case to fertilize the Judas tree. Should be cut in dry and sunny weather, so that the interfaces close quickly.

Worth knowing soon

The magnificent Judas tree attracts attention in early spring with its flowers. He is very undemanding and due to its small size also suitable for small gardens. Since it hardly needs to be cut, it requires little care and is suitable for gardeners as well as for professionals.

Judas Tree - Cercis siliquastrum

The name of the tree has its origins in biblical history and here in Judas, the betrayer of Jesus. He should have hanged himself on such a tree. In addition, the round leaves to the silver pieces that Judas has received for his betrayal. Bible-resistant people will know what they are talking about. All others can continue to inform if interested.
  • The genus of Judas tree includes six species that occur in Europe, the Middle East and North America, especially to New Mexico.
  • The Judas tree reaches a height of up to ten meters, he also prefers an altitude below four hundred meters.
  • As for the ground, the Judas tree is not very spoiled. He is satisfied with calcareous or stony soils.
  • It grows in sparse forests and wherever you want it.
  • The Judas tree has leaves that are radiant green, in the sun they even shine a little silver. They are arranged alternately and have a kidney-shaped basic shape. The leaves can grow up to twelve inches long.
  • The fruits of the Judas tree are reminiscent of long pea pods, they are long pods, which are first tender green and later turn brown.
To go over to the flowers of the tree, a definition is first necessary, namely the cauliflory, Caulifloria is the stemwort of a plant. Especially in tropical plants, this feature occurs, it means that flowers emerge from older stem parts. It is especially nice to see when the stem is blooming. In Europe you will find only very few trees, but one of the few is the Judas tree, which is also found here in many gardens as ornamental wood.
  • The flowers appear before the leaves, are pink to purple and tufted on branches, on thick branches and also, as I said, on the trunk.
  • They are arranged in short bunches of butterflies and delight the gardener's heart, especially when they are blooming where no one expects, namely on the trunk.

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