Native to South Eastern USA in the States of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Florida. Known as the Southern Catalpa in the US, Catalpa bignonioides is more commonly called Indian Bean Tree in the UK where it is a welcome addition to the range of big-leaved deciduous exotics that we can grow in the UK and Europe. Hardy down to at least -15 C, it has no problem to the South of the UK as it appreciates the warmer summers but in general it does tend to struggle more the further north one goes. In the US it is cultivated in most States and survives well into Southern Canada, which gives an indication of its hardiness.
It is a large, highly-ornamental, fast-growing, deciduous tree with a spreading habit forming an attractive dome shape and growing up to 65 feet although smaller than that is more common. The large leaves are from 5 to 12 inches and are typically ovate or heart-shaped, sometimes with 3 shallow lobes, particularly when young. It responds well to pollarding and the foliage will be larger and even more exotic and dramatic as a consequence. The blooms are scented and very showy, forming branched upright panicles of frill-lobed bell-shaped flowers that are white and streaked with purple stripes and yellow spots. The beans that follow are elongated pencil-like seed pods that can be as long as 18 inches.
Catalpa likes a moist loamy soil and a place in the sun.
Large handsome plants approximately 1m - 1.5m (3-5 feet) tall. Bargain!
|Synonyms||Bignonia catalpa, Bignonia spectabilis, Catalpa arborea, Catalpa bignonioides f. aurea, Catalpa bignonioides f. koehnei, Catalpa bignonioides f. nana, Catalpa bignonioides f. pulverulenta, Catalpa bignonioides f. rehderi, Catalpa bignonioides f. variegata, Catalpa catalpa, Catalpa communis, Catalpa cordifolia, Catalpa syringifolia, Catalpa syringifolia var. koehnei, Catalpa ternifolia, Catalpa umbraculifera, Catalpium amena|
|Geographical Origin||Southeastern United States: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi|
|Cultivation||Full sun. Moist soil. Give it plenty of room|
|Eventual Height||12 m would be a very good height in the UK achieved only after many years. Smaller is more usual|
|Eventual Spread||A broad tree and not always fully upright. A tree of the above height might reach 8-10 m across|
|Hardiness||Hardy down to at least -15C and probably much lower. Deciduous|
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