Teaching a Lavender Twist Redbud Tree how to be a Tree

Last updated : 24 November 2014

I made a movie for you about how to create a beautiful tree like this.  The video is below.

Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud Tree

Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud Tree


Quick and Easy Way to Make Money at Home Growing Plants

The Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud tree was discovered and developed by my friend Tim Brotzman of Brotzman’s Nursery in Madison, Ohio.  What a spectacular plant!  Brotzman’s is wholesale only, please do not contact them trying to buy from them.

Small plants bring in big money!

Recently I did a video about teaching a Lavender Twist Redbud Tree to actually act like a tree.  That’s the problem with weeping plants.  All they want to do is weep!  Left alone they would just lay on the ground and grow in a horizontal fashion.

Lavender Twist Weeping Red Bud Tree in Mike McGroarty's yard.

Lavender Twist Weeping Red Bud Tree in Mike McGroarty’s yard.


That’s why they are so interesting when we train them to grow upright.  They fight the notion, and that creates the most interesting shapes and habits, combined with their beautiful flowers, we get some really beautiful plants.

As you’ll see in my video, some of the Lavender Twist Redbud in my nursery are fighting me about being trees. Of course that has a lot to do with the fact that I haven’t been right on top of them keeping them trained. But my negligence tends to create some pretty interesting plants that will have a great deal of character by the time I am actually ready to sell them.

The Lavender Twist is still a great plant to grow and sell because they actually do grow pretty quickly for an ornamental tree.  They are patented so we can’t propagate them, but several times throughout the year I see where some of our Backyard Growers offer them for sale.  Some of the ones that I got I think I paid less than $10.00 per plant for them which is a great deal when even small ones sell for $99.00 or more.

If they are patented how are our members able to sell them for such low prices?

They buy them from large wholesale growers who are licensed to propagate them, they pay the royalty at the time of purchase, then they mark them up a little and offer them for sale to our members.  This is really a great service for our members because you get to buy really good plants at super low prices and don’t have to worry about meeting the minimum order requirements that many of the larger wholesaler growers require.


The Lavender Twist Redbud Tree truly has a very interesting
story to tell.  It’s about where people and plants meet.

Small plants bring in big money!

Take care and keep making those baby plants! -Mike McGroarty




  1. India says

    Hi Mike, I live in So Cal and in the process of replacing my current landscape with “water-wise” landscape. I’ve seen previous posts that So Cal may not be the best place for a Weeping Redbud, but my research indicates Zone 10 is acceptable. Let me know if you do not agree. Also, my main question is can I train a Weeping Redbud to be “waterwise”?

    • says


      I don’t know that I can answer your questions. I’m the redbud would be okay in your heat, but it does need to go dormant for the winter so it can rest. It takes temps below 30 degrees to trigger dormancy. As far as water wise, I can’t honestly say.

  2. says

    Hi Mike.I bought a lavender twist weeping redbud three years ago this year a little more than half the tree had purple flowers on it should I wait for the heart shaped leaves and if I don’t see leaves on the branches should I prune them.I had more purple flowers on it last year I hope it’s not dying on me the tree is seven foot tall and three feet wide thanks Mike

    • says


      Yes, wait for the leaves to appear or not. You can also scratch the bark. This is how you test to see if a plant, or a branch on a plant has died. Just scratch the bark of your plants with your finger nail. If the tissue below the bark is green and firm your plants are fine. If the tissue is brown and mushy that part of the plant is dead. Just prune away anything that is dead, the prune the tree for balance as needed. It should be fine with some time.

  3. Susie says

    Hi Mike, I bought a lavender twist a couple of years ago, though it was young it was looking great. This past winter I found the tree laying in the lawn, I am not sure if the dog ran into it and snapped it or what happened, but it was broken off near the base. There was a upshoot growing on the side and that seemed to make it through the winter but it is about seven feet tall and straight up in the air with nothing comming of of it but two more little upstoots on the bottem. It doesn’t look like it is going to weep on its own.. Is there something I should be doing with this? I really loved the tree and would like to save it.

    • says


      It’s sounds to me like the grafted part of the plant died and snapped off. The shoots coming from the base, if growing straight up on their own are not lavender twist at all, but just redbud branches. What you have left is a multi stem redbud tree. There’s nothing you can do to make those weep. They don’t know how. The actual lavender Twist part of the plant is gone.

      • Anonymous says

        Aw, I am sad to hear that. I guess I will have to buy another one and try again. I really loved the uniqueness of this particular tree. Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. I really appreciate your advice.

        Take care.

  4. says

    Bought 2 4-foot Lavender Twist Red bud trees last Spring. I live in the Detroit area. The trees did pretty well throughout the summer. I have been trying to train them to stand tall and straight but unfortunately broke a branch off pining it up to make the tree taller. Do new branches grow out from the top? I trimmed all the lower branches off in November and kept a few upper branches. Plan to trim it into an umbrella shape when it is taller and more upper branches developed. Any tips to do this?

    • says


      You’ll be fine, just wait for new growth, grab one of those branches and train it to the stake. They grow quickly. But you have to be on top of it and tie those branches while they are still limber. They harden off quickly.

  5. jeffrey Jenkins says

    Our home is in Columbus, Ohio. We are interested in purchasing a lavender twist redbud to train as a tree. Are there any suppliers in or near Columbus, Ohio? Our zip code is 43209.

    Thanks for any information.


    • says

      I’m sure there are plenty of growers and retailers in your area that have them, you just have to call or look around.

  6. Bev says

    I have a weeping redbud that I had planted about 3 years ago. Unfortunately, the gardener/landscaper did not stake it. I currently is only about 4 ft. tall, and the trunk is about 4″ in diameter. It is pretty full, but I trim it so that it doesn’t touch the ground (about 5″ from the ground). I want to stake some of the newer branches so that they reach out, and possibly up. Is it too late to attempt to train it? Would I be able to take one of these branches and train it up (sort of like an ‘S’)? What would be the best thing to stake it with, since the branches are older?

    • says


      Yes, if you can pull one of those branches upright you can get more height from your tree. Stake it with Electrical conduit.

  7. Esther says

    I brought a 5 ft laveder twist red bud six months ago and is now dying ( the top branches show no inside green stuff, after scrapping the outer bark. . The bottom main trunk still have green color stuff inside , after scrapping the bark off) at Los Angeles, California. Does Los Angeles has the right zoning condition for red bud? How can I save the remaining red bud? Cut off the top branches and pot it again?

    My landscaping agent said it is not suitable for South Californian zone and insisted for me to replace it with a Gingko Bilola Jade butterfly tree. I still love the lavender redbud. Please give me your advice.
    Do you have California retailers for red bud?

    • says


      Your landscaper is probably right, I suspect that southern California is not the best place for a Lavender Twist Redbud tree. It sounds to me like your tree dried out if it’s dead at the top and not the bottom. Keeping plants in pots is really, really challenging.

  8. Peg says

    I bought a Lavender Twist a few years ago. It was a stick with some roots. It is now about 4.5′ to 5′ tall and I am getting some nice leaves but it has never bloomed. Do I need to do something for it to bloom in the spring?

  9. Ann says

    This is my first year with a Lavender Twist, we planted it last fall. The spring brought beautiful flowers, now it is getting the leaves on it but they don’t look like hearts. Does it take a while for the leaves to look like hearts? They are small in shape also. Can something be eating them? I have not seen any bugs on it. It sits under a lamp post too, is this a bad pace for it? Light is on it all night.

    • says


      My guess is the tree is just fine. Make sure it’s not planted to deep and has enough water. If both of those things are fine, just give it time.

  10. Nadia says

    Hi Mike,
    We justed planted a 6 ft lavender twist and it is weeping and staked straight as well, is there anyway I can trim/prune it at this age to make it more tree like? Do I just cut the branches shorter? If so, when?

    • says


      Ideally you should be trimming your lavender twist every few weeks when it is young. Keep in mind, it will never look like a normal tree, it’s going to weep like an umbrella. But it needs to be trimmed to get to that shape.

  11. KC says

    Wonderful info! Mike or any other expert….

    I have one of these beautiful trees and am realizing this Spring that it needs to be trimmed. Many branches are touching the ground. Can I trim in the Spring? If so, any special tips for this time of year? I do understand the optimal time is when it’s in dormant state, just hoping to begin shaping it a little sooner if possible.


    • says


      Please, please, please trim that Lavender Twist. Do not wait for the optimal time. Just trim it. I trim 365 days a year if I see something that needs to be trimmed. Not trimming a Lavender Twist when it needs it is borderline criminal!

      • KC says

        Gosh! I will. So glad I asked. I only found folks talking about optimal time. My tree appreciates it Mike!!

  12. Mikelobes says

    Is it possible to graft a red twigged dogwood bush to a yellow twigged dogwood bush? Thanks Mike

  13. Bob Schurr says

    Rachel answered my question. I have a wistera that I want to try this on. It should look good. Also I want to try grafting a crape mertle.Would it be possible to get a tree with more than one color of flower?

    • says

      Bob, If you want to graft additional colors onto a Crape Myrtle I don’t see why it can’t be done. Fruit trees are often budded with 5 different kids of apples on one tree. Dogwoods are budded so they flower both pink and white.

  14. Marge says

    Thanks Mike for all the wonderful info/tips you send, including on this beautiful weeping redbud! Do you know anyone in Connecticut who might sell this gorgeous plant?

  15. Brenda Taylor says

    I would like to know where I can buy any and all of the plants. I have had your information for a long time and have never found where to buy. Thanks Brenda

    • says

      Brenda, if you have my Backyard Growing System, http://freeplants.com/wanted.htm, it comes with a directory of wholesale suppliers which is the list of where I buy any plants that I need for my nursery. You can also buy from other members, and you have also received information about that with the system as well.

  16. Rachel says

    Hi Mike,
    I’m doing the same thing with a wisteria tree it looked as if was dying and my husband wanted to trash it but with a little TLC it started growing like crazy. Vines were going every where. I started training and cutting it shaping it like a tree and its doing wonderful next year when it blooms I will send you some photos. Thanks for all your tips.

  17. Lori Shellenberger says

    Hi Mike!

    I have some regular redbud tree seeds in a paper bag in the garage. I live in PA and I realize these seeds need stratification. If I want to start from seed, what would be your suggestion. I did read online that you have soak the seed and to “scratch” the covering of the seed for good germination. Seems like a lot of work……

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    Lori Shellenberger

  18. Bob Long says

    I actually have one of these trees, mine is about 5ft. tall. Will it get much taller or do i have to stake it if i want it taller? Also, is this a grafted tree? I am asking because I’m wondering if it seeds true to form or does it seed as a regular redbud?

    • says

      Bob, your Weeping Redbud will not grow any taller unless you stake it and train it to grow taller. They are either grafted or budded and will not come true from a seed. They are also patented so we cannot propagate them. Which is just as well. I let somebody else do all of the tedious work of growing out a seedling then budding or grafting on to the seedling. I just buy small plants that are about 18″ tall and grow them on from there. Which is what most nurseryman do. It cuts way down on the time that it actually takes to produce a plant.

  19. Carmie says

    What Jenn said. I’m on my third fall season with my little twist, and will start pruning the inner branches soon. Thanks Mike!

  20. Dana harness says

    that is SWEEEET my wfie just got to have one now hey THANK for all the tips and info you been sending we be getting your DVD after X-MAS THANK again have a good one everybody we going to bed we got some garden to do tomowwer have a nice day

  21. Kim says

    Oh WOW, that is amazing!!!! My favorite tree is the Weeping Willow, but I don’t have room for one in my yard. But these excite me! I’ve got to have one, I have just the spot in my front yard & I can have my own mini willow….. Thank you Mike for showing us this wonderful plant….:)

  22. Grace says

    LOL…just saw what Rick said above! Glad I’m not the only bonsai enthusiast sneaking glances at the the bigger trees…hehehe! ;):D

  23. Grace says

    Hello Mike! What an awesome redbud! Plant envy indeed! Oddly enough, I was reading last night about how to prune and train a bonsai Dwarf Ficus when you want to change the direction/orientation of the lead branch or remove the lead branch and create a new one. What you were doing with your redbud, when you pruned and staked it, is almost identical to what was being done to the Dwarf Ficus on a much smaller scale. How cool is that, huh? Anyway, we have a lot of Eastern Redbud around here where I live and I’ve noticed they’ve seed crazy this year and are hanging full! Are they always so prolific or was this year an unusual one?

    Love your videos!

    Peace and Blessings.

    • says

      Grace, for the most part they usually do seed really well. For one thing, I noticed this spring that despite the crazy weather, warm then freezing, the redbud blooms seem to be unaffected. Most other flowers like Weeping Cherry, Magnolia and Forsythia the flowers we gone with the slightest frost. But not the redbud.

  24. Judy says

    It is just me or is the sound not working on your video about the lavender twist redbud tree? I thoroughly appreciate all the information you so freely give. Thank you.

    • says

      Judy, it’s probably a setting on your computer, I’m not that easy to shut up. Try plugging in headphones, sometimes the headphone jack locks out the sound.

    • says

      Ronel, Redbud trees bloom in the early spring before the tree even has leaves. That’s what makes it so interesting. The flowers appear to be glued to the branches.

  25. Nancy Barney says

    That is a beautiful plant I will have to try
    and find one.It will be so much fun to train
    and watch it grow .

  26. Rick says

    This sort of supported training and shaping is a form of bonsai! When the plants are dug out of the ground, their roots will get pruned back too. Mike — I was wondering if you pre-prune the roots with an edger all around each plant some time ahead of digging them up into containers or burlap? Would you do it a full year ahead of time? Of course, pre-pruning the roots trains them into a more concentrated clump so the plant can handle the shock of transplanting better.

    Mike, you know I live in a camper, and I might not have an internet connection at my next stop… so if you do answer my questions I may not see your reply for a while… but at least everyone else will!!! Thanks for being who you are! I almost feel like I’m a part of the family, even though I live alone out on the road. From the beautiful mountains of the Cumberland Gap region of Kentucky (at the moment), Rick

    • says

      Rick, great question about root pruning. Do we pre-prune before digging. It’s rarely done that way because usually the plant has gone through a root development process while it was being grown. Small trees are often grown in air pruning containers that actually air prune the roots when the plant is small, making for a much better root system.

      Often times before a tree is actually planted in the field it has been transplanted a few times, that also helps to build a better root system. But I have seen one local nursery go through a field of Canadian Hemlocks with an undercutting blade to root prune all of the trees in the field.

      Since most plants, especially deciduous plants are dug when dormant they handle the shock of having some roots cut in the digging process pretty well.

  27. jennifer street says

    where can we buy these trees??? we live in south louisiana, will they do well here??? they r beautiful!!!

    • says

      Jennifer, I just told Charlie that they may not do well in zone 10 but now that I think about it, they actually are easier to propagate in zones 7 and 8 so I’d call around and see if any of the plant retailers near you have them.

  28. says

    The Lavender Twist Redbud is the tree that made me discover your site for the very first time, and when I saw how you had pruned yours into such a delightful shape, I simply had to have one of my own. I searched all over creation for them (they weren’t so popular a few years ago), and after much frustration, on a fluke I discovered a nursery a few miles down the road selling them!

    Unfortunately the trees had not been trained well, and they were all sorts of droopy, with leaves trailing on the ground and just looking like a mess. Well, we bought one, planted it, waited a full year for it to get established (perhaps I was being overly cautious, but I knew I would be pruning it back hard), and just this summer, after it had fully “leafed out,” I began to prune it into a delightful little dome shape like yours.

    Your pic is what made me fall in love with this tree in the first place, and now I get SO MANY COMPLIMENTS from people who come over! It’s in a special spot in the corner of our front landscaping bed, so it coordinates well with the landscaping but still gets noticed and gets to shine on its own. It’s an absolute DELIGHT to have and care for.

    I have to admit, I was a bit scared to prune it. It seems to be a bit of a delicate plant…sometimes random branches will just die off for no apparent reason (this happened even before I began pruning). But it looks SO much better now that it’s been delightfully shaped. I am looking forward to seeing it fill in a bit next summer. Before long, I’m sure I’ll have a beautiful, bushy, dome-shaped eye-catcher in my front yard!

    Thanks for all the information you share! I love reading your emails!

    Blessings, Jenn

  29. Casey Milnes says

    This tree is a pretty one and keeping it cleaned up is the right thing to do! High or low a tree is a tree and should look like one. Not a ground creeper. There are certain weepers that look great when you let them go like a norway spruce. But leafed varieties are much more attractive trimmed up! Well that is my opinion.
    HAppy gardening!

    • says

      Gary, Lavender Twist Weeping Redbud is a patented plant. It’s against the law to propagate it unless you have a license to do so. So you have to start with a plant that was propagated from by a licensed grower. Then you simply train the tree as I am doing in the video.

  30. Dave Fenn says

    What a great way to begin thinking about how to take your plant sales to the next level–by creating and offering unique and beautiful plants which can command a higher profit margin. Thanks Mike.

  31. Sophia Moore says

    Bought a 3′ redbud this year. After trying unsuccessfully to propagate from a cutting from a friends tree. It’s doing OK, still in the pot waiting for someone to dig a hole for it.
    But what I would really like to know is: Is it possible to strike them from cuttings.
    I really enjoy all your mails. Regret not being equipped to go into this more than being an appreciative observer. Thanks so much for sharing.

  32. Diane says

    Plant envy is right! The tree is gorgeous! Thanks for all your tips; I really enjoy all of your tips. Keep them coming!

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