The weeping katsura tree has graceful branches and heart-shaped, blue-green leaves that transform into a vibrant yellow color in the fall. Native to China and Japan, this tree has long been cherished for its incomparable beauty. The most common weeping katsura in the United States is ‘Amazing Grace’, a variety that was discovered as a seedling in an Indiana nursery around 1960.
Weeping katsura is a fast-growing tree that should be planted in the fall.
|Common Name||Weeping katsura. pendulous katsura|
|Botanical Name||Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Pendulum'|
|Mature Size||15-20 ft. tall, 10-15 ft. wide|
|Flower Color||Green, red|
|Hardiness Zones||4-8 (USDA)|
Weeping Katsura Care
The tree requires full sun and plenty of water, but otherwise it is not a particularly high-maintenance tree once established.
Don't be surprised if it does not look like a weeping tree from the start. It will initially take on a pyramidal form before rounding out. Its pendulous branches fan out before sweeping the ground.
Plant the tree in a location with dappled sun, full sun, or partial shade.
The weeping katsura will grow best in a rich, well-drained soil. It prefers soil that is slightly acidic (pH between 5.5 and 7.5).
You'll want to water the weeping katsura at least once per week, especially during its first year, to help establish a strong root system. You should water even more frequently in extreme heat, as these trees are not tolerant of drought. Continue to water the tree regularly throughout its lifetime, ideally when the top three inches of soil become dry.
Temperature and Humidity
The weeping katsura will truly come to life in the spring in temperate climates. It tolerates a relatively broad temperature range and is not too particular about humidity.
You can fertilize your weeping katsura with a general-purpose fertilizer. Just be sure to feed your tree before its new growth starts in the spring.
Types of Katsura Trees
There are different types of katsura trees. Popular varieties include:
- 'Red Fox' katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Rotfuchs'): Mid-size variety (30 feet tall, 16 feet wide); one of the most colorful types, bearing purplish-bronze leaves in spring, greenish-bronze leaves in summer, and orange-bronze in fall
- 'Ruby' katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Ruby'): Small (30 feet tall) with blue-purple leaves
- 'Dawes Ascension' katsura (Cercidiphyllum japonicum 'Dawes Ascension'): On the taller side for Katsura (50 feet); has a columnar shape for the first decades of life; green-blue leaves turn apricot yellow in fall
- Dwarf varieties are 'Heronswood Globe' Katsura, 'Glowball' Katsura, 'Boyd's Dwarf' Katsura, 'Herkenrode Dwarf' Katsura, and 'Kruckeberg Dwarf' Katsura, the smallest of the cultivars, topping out at 8 to 15 feet
This tree rarely needs pruning, unless it's removing dead or diseased branches. It will naturally form a broad umbrella shape that will sweep the ground if left unpruned.
Propagating Weeping Katsura
Weeping katsura can be grown from stem cuttings or suckers in the late spring. Suckers from the base of the tree have a greater rate of propagation success.
- Using a sharp, sterilized blade, make a clean cut 1 inch below the sucker to remove it. Do not pull it off, or you risk damaging more bark than necessary. A clean deep cut (notch) increases the chance of the bark to heal properly.
- Fill a 1-gallon nursery pot with damp potting mix.
- Dip the cut end of the sucker in rooting hormone and insert it in the soil so that at least two nodes are buried, Press the soil lightly around the stem to ensure contact with the soil.
- Slowly water until the water drips out of the drainage holes.
- Wrap the pot and its cutting in a clear plastic bag to keep the moisture in, which promotes rooting. It can take up to 6 weeks for roots to develop. You can remove the plastic for one to two hours a day to promote some air circulation, but then replace the bag and make sure to maintain moist soil until new growth appears.
- Once you see new growth, place the pot in indirect light avoiding direct sun. Let the sapling grow for at least one full season before transplanting it in the fall.
How to Grow Weeping Katsura from Seeds
Weeping katsura is a cultivar so its seeds won't produce a plant that is true to the parent. Therefore propagation from seed is not recommended.
Potting and Repotting
Weeping katsura is too large to be grown in a container.
The katsura tree is winter-hardy but especially young trees are susceptible to sunscald injury during the winter. To protect young trees, wrap the trunk in a commercial-grade tree wrap in the fall and remove it once the tree breaks dormancy and regrows its leaves in the spring.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
This tree is not associated with any serious pests or diseases. In wet, humid weather it might get powdery mildew.
Common Problems with Weeping Katsura
Weeping katsura is intolerant of drought and the tree must also be protected from the direct exposure to wind. Its wood is considered to be weak and is subject to breakage.
In a location where it is exposed to hot afternoon sun, the foliage can get scorched.
When planting, try not to locate your tree too close to a sidewalk because its shallow root system can lift the pavers. The shallow roots can also make mowing around it difficult so plant groundcover around it instead.
Do katsura trees have fllowers?
They do,, the tree blooms in March or April but the tiny red flowers are not particularly ornamentally interesting and easy to miss. The tree is mostly grown for its foliage.
What do katsura trees smell like?
Its leaves emit a subtle sweet smell as they fall, almost like cotton candy or caramel.
Do katsura trees lose their leaves?
They are deciduous trees so they lose their leaves but not before putting on a show. The bronze or purple-red foliage turns blue-green then fades to gold or apricot in the fall.