Catalpa (Catalpa speciosa)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Catalpa
Give a thumbs up Western Catalpa
Give a thumbs up Northern Catalpa
Give a thumbs up Western Catawba
Give a thumbs up Indian Cigar Tree
Give a thumbs up Fish-Bait Tree
Give a thumbs up Shawnee Wood
Give a thumbs up Cigar Tree
Give a thumbs up Catawba-Tree

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Tree
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Slightly alkaline (7.4 – 7.8)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 40 to 70 feet (12-21m)
Plant Spread: 20 to 50 feet (6-15m)
Leaves: Deciduous
Fruit: Showy
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Uses: Shade Tree
Useful for timber production
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Pollinators: Bees
Miscellaneous: Monoecious


June Plants for Honey BeesJune Plants for Honey Bees
June 2, 2012

Summer is coming, with longer days and hotter temperatures. June is still a great month for honey bees, but they may not produce as much honey as the days get hotter.

(Full article12 comments)
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Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on May 4, 2012 12:41 PM

Honey bees get nectar from this plant which produces an amber honey.

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Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 26, 2017 8:42 PM

This large tropical-looking tree had a native range in the 1800's near the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers from northeast Arkansas to southern Indiana. Now it is all over the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions and other regions of the country as it was planted around some and escaped cultivation. It is fast growing of about 2 to 2.5 feet/year and lives about 100 years. It is upright in form and develops a big trunk. It develops a taproot or coarse lateral roots and can only be moved as a small tree in early spring. It can be a good large tree for large spaces as in parks, but it is not for small properties. It is also a powerful weed tree that sows itself everywhere, infesting urban areas in abandoned lots and grows with other pioneer trees as Boxelder, those trees that first colonize an open field. It is a very messy tree, dropping twigs, branches, flowers, and pods all over. It is weak-wooded and subject to storm damage. Most nurseries don't sell it. Northern Catalpa has opposite or whorled heart-shaped leaves 10 to 12 inches long by 7 to 8 inches wide. It bears long, narrow pod-like capsules 8 to 20 inches long. It is a large tree usually 40 to 60 feet high, but sometimes to about 100 feet. The brittle wood is resistant to rot and has been used for railroad ties.

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Posted by lauribob (N Central Wash. - the dry side - Zone 5b) on Oct 8, 2018 4:34 PM

This tree is the last to show signs of life for me in the spring, not leafing out until several weeks after everything else is looking "springy." I love the giant leaves, pretty flowers, and the big old "beans" it gets in the summer. It's grown fairly rapidly for me to block an unwanted view up on the ridge behind me while retaining my mountain view. I've seen them used in town, where some people prune them to restrict their size and make them more suitable to a small yard. I've also seen people cut them back hard every year and maintain as a striking shrub, but of course, you won't get any flowers doing that.

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Posted by Anndixon on Jul 29, 2016 7:45 AM

I have a terrible time with tent caterpillars eating this entire tree every summer. The tree has gotten tall enough that I can't reach the caterpillar "tents". I'm not a sprayer. The tree continues to grow but it doesn't bloom very much. Anyone have any organic solutions? Thx.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
What is this tree? by radishgirl Aug 8, 2018 11:58 AM 2
Tree Found by TommysPlants May 23, 2017 8:27 AM 6
Please help me identify this tree by jjan Apr 8, 2017 6:31 PM 3
What kind of plant is this with verrrry long beans-NorthEastPenn by plantluver01 Feb 5, 2017 7:48 PM 6
Catalpa Tree Doesn't Bloom by Agoo Oct 9, 2016 8:34 AM 6
Large flowering tree by kniphofia Aug 25, 2016 11:37 AM 5
ID help on this tree, please.... by wcgypsy Nov 28, 2016 2:16 PM 35
What IS this? by bwv998 Jul 9, 2016 8:29 PM 5
New to Idaho by lswald1 May 28, 2019 4:37 PM 16
Salt tolerant plants by eclayne Feb 8, 2013 9:39 PM 130

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