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Grow Your Own Cercis ‘Eternal Flame’

Closeup of Cercis Eternal Flame leaf

Suttons brings you a unique Cercis with the wow factor

Cercis canadensis ‘Eternal Flame’ is a beautiful new shrub that fills your garden with a kaleidoscope of colour. There’s no wonder it’s the winner of RHS Chelsea Flower Show ‘Plant of the Year’ Award 2021! Its glossy heart-shaped leaves emerge deep red, gradually changing to burnt orange and then golden yellow. Because the shrub continually produces new growth throughout the spring and the summer, each stem bears a striking combination of fiery colours at the same time. Here’s how to make the most of Cercis ‘Eternal Flame’ in your own garden…

What is a Cercis?

Cercis ‘Eternal Flame’ from Suttons
Cercis ‘Eternal Flame’ can be grown as a shrub or trained as a small tree
Image: Cercis ‘Eternal Flame’ from Suttons

Renowned for its distinctive foliage, cercis is a large deciduous shrub that looks great in containers, beds and borders, or can be grown as a small tree. Part of the Fabaceae family, it features glossy, heart-shaped leaves that change colour through the seasons, followed by small flowers and then flat seed pods in the spring. 

Unhappy when moved, it’s best to plant your young cercis into its final position straight away. It prefers moist, well drained soil and full sun if possible. The heat ripens the summer shoots, priming them for the following spring’s display.

How to make the most of your ‘Eternal Flame’

Closeup of Cercis ‘Eternal Flame’ from Suttons
The beautiful heart-shaped leaves of cercis bring shape, texture and colour to borders
Image: Cercis ‘Eternal Flame’ from Suttons 

Eternal Flame is a versatile shrub, and responds well to a number of different growing approaches, so choose how you’d like to present your plant and give it an environment that suits your garden design best. Here are some ideas:

  • Specimen plant – grow Cercis canadensis ‘Eternal Flame’ in a container as a feature for your patio. 
  • Small tree – reaching a height of about 3m if unpruned, position your ‘Eternal Flame’ in a sunny location and underplant with shade-loving plants like hostas and brunnera.
  • Architectural foliage – feature your ‘Eternal Flame’ as part of an architectural garden with cornus and other brightly coloured stems. 
  • Low maintenance shrub – requiring very little care apart from light pruning, plant your ‘Eternal Flame’ into a herbaceous border and sit back to enjoy the show. 

How ‘Eternal Flame’ was bred

Red heart shaped leaf of Cercis ‘Eternal Flame’ from Suttons 
The leaves of ‘Eternal Flame’ don’t return to green in the summer as you might expect
Image: Cercis ‘Eternal Flame’ from Suttons

Eternal Flame was bred by the famous American Cercis breeder, Denny Werner, who has a long track record of success. He knew this variety would be a real winner from the very start, persevering with a process of crossing, testing and trialing for more than a decade to get the stunning results he was after.

As the very first seedling started to grow after the successful cross, Werner realised that the leaves were like nothing he’d ever seen before. The strong colours didn’t fade and the multi-coloured foliage didn’t revert back to green during the summer months as expected. 

Cercis ‘Eternal Flame’ is being introduced to the market through an exciting collaboration between Hillier Nurseries and Suttons. This joint venture ensures that this award-winning shrub is easily available via garden centres and online, for delivery direct to your door.

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