The Forest Pansy, also known as the Judas tree, is a small flowering tree suitable for lawns and gardens; it is regularly used as a street tree in planned residential areas. The Forest Pansy will eventually grow to about 30 feet tall, with a trunk divided relatively close to the ground. It is well known for its bright pink or purple flowers which sometimes seem to take over the tree completely. Leaves often appear after the flowers, and are heart-shaped with a purplish colour.
The best way to propagate the Forest Pansy is not to grow a tree cutting, but to develop it from the seedling. These seeds should be planted during the winter late fall and early spring, between October and March.
Seeds can the gathered from the ground after pods have ripened and then dried; as an alternative, pick the entire pod, and nick or scar seed coat before propagation. Forest Pansy trees need to be stratified before planting, in order to break dormancy patterns. Firstly, put seeds with sand into a pot, and put out into the garden. After a fall of snow, empty the pot and sow the seeds where they are wanted.
In warmer areas, put seed into peat moss, seal into a plastic bag. Leave for a week in warm temperatures, and then put the seeds into the fridge. After a few days, remove from the fridge, and place in warm areas such as a towel cupboard. If necessary, return to the fridge for another few days: check seeds for signs of germination.
Be aware that Forest Pansy seeds may not produce seedlings in the first one or two years, but be patient, and they will eventually grow. Placing the seeds in a light-bathed area will help germination.
Planting Forest Pansy
In order to plant a tree from the Forest Pansy family, it is important to remember that the flower will grow well in a container, but prefers to be planted in the ground, where its roots can spread out fully. Plant the seed in a partially shaded ground, with neutral, well drained soil; the forest pansy needs about 6 hours of sunlight a day in sustain healthy growth, but also prefers shade during the heat of summer.
During planting, it is a good idea to water the Forest Pansy so that a well of liquid forms around the trunk. Heavy watering should be the norm for this tree during the first two years after planting.
Prune regularly to prevent the tree from growing out of shape – pruning will also encourage the tree to grow upwards. Pruning is also a good time to locate and eliminate many of the pests which bother the Forest Pansy.
The Forest Pansy is susceptible to a range of bugs, including leaf hoppers, scale insects (which decimate leaves), aphids and psyllids. It is also vulnerable to diseases such as canker, and verticillium wilt, a fungus that attacks roots and stalks. These can all be fended off in the early stages through careful maintenance and care of the tree.