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

Common names
  • Northern Catalpa
  • Western Catalpa
  • Catalpa
  • Cigar Tree
  • Western Catawba
  • Indian Cigar Tree
  • Fish-Bait Tree
  • Shawnee Wood
  • Catawba-Tree

This plant is tagged in:
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  • Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 26, 2017 8:42 PM concerning plant:
    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. The name "Catalpa" comes from the word for it in a Native American language of its native range as found in the 19th century.
  • Posted by lauribob (N Central Wash. - the dry side - Zone 5b) on Oct 8, 2018 4:34 PM concerning plant:
    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.
  • Posted by Mindy03 (Delta KY) on May 4, 2012 12:41 PM concerning plant:
    Honey bees get nectar from this plant which produces an amber honey.
  • Posted by Anndixon on Jul 29, 2016 7:45 AM concerning plant:
    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.
Plant Events from our members
tinytreez On January 12, 2020 Obtained plant
Seeds obtained from Mount Royal Seeds.

Seeds planted in coco coir mix consisting of perlite, kelp meal, blood meal, humic & fulvic acid, basalt powder and great white mycorrhizae fungi. The seeds are kept inside a humidity dome under T5 lllights.

These seeds do not need stratification.

Germination can take up to 45 days.
WebTucker On May 12, 2022 Obtained plant
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