Hardiness: USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 °C (-30 °F) USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 °C (-25 °F) USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 °C (-20 °F) USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 °C (-15 °F) USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 °C (-10 °F) USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 °C (-5 °F) USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 °C (0 °F) USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 °C (5 °F) USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 °C (10 °F) USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)
Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade
Danger: Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Bloom Color: Pale Pink White/Near White
Bloom Time: Late Spring/Early Summer Mid Summer
Other details: Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Soil pH requirements: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral) 7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
Patent Information: Non-patented
Propagation Methods: From seed; direct sow after last frost Scarify seed before sowing
Seed Collecting: Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
I absolutely love this tree! My neighbors have a very large catalpa in their yard and last fall I dug up a few seedlings nearby. When I dug them up last October, they were only about 8 inches tall. Since planting them in March, they have grown to be almost 3 feet tall, and it's still August! They have about another 2 months of growing left in the season!
In addition to their fast growth, I like them for their tropical appearance. The leaves can be enormous and the seed pods remind me of giant greenbeans. Sort of a nice change from the common maples and oaks native to the area.
On Jul 25, 2010, ouedtaria from Vernon Canada wrote:
This tree is so beautiful when mature. They are not messy as the pods being so big that they are easy to clean up. They give lots os shade and when in bloom, the tree is spectacular. I do need someone to tell me if they get caterpillars. Supposedly they get a yellow caterpillar with a black stripe that are good fish bait but I do not remember my tree having this so are they knowned to be infested with caterpillars. I need to know.
On May 22, 2010, HalfWild from Boonsboro, MD (Zone 6b) wrote:
This is a tree for romantics, children, and anyone else with lots of imagination. It is one of the most beautiful, charismatic trees you could ever have growing in your yard. Its leaves are giant green hearts, making wonderful shade and lovely to look up into from below. In full bloom, it looks like a tree entirely made of bridal bouquets. Its blossoms fall to the ground still fresh, while more of them blossom above, so plant it where your most romantic family member can sit under it on freshly mown grass when it is blooming. It is also excellent for climbing, and easily imagined as a giant beanstalk. My first catalpa was an invader in an old hedge when I was a new mother. I fell in love with it and planted a catalpa sapling in my new front yard when we moved to our permanent home. The kids are grown now, and the tree is spectacular.
On Oct 6, 2009, kat_kins from Salt Lake City, UT wrote:
I have been calling nurseries this morning in search of this tree. Much to my disappointment, nobody carries them due to lack of request for the N. Catalpa. Here is my issue, I live in Salt Lake which is a pretty non-hospitable environment for many trees (especially native eastern). It is quite easy to discover which species do best here by taking note of trees more than one foot in trunk diameter which are still alive. N. Catalpas not only survive and thrive here, but many are mature specimens and have gorgeous branching patterns. I will try to post a picture of one located in my neighborhood which is quite possibly one of the most beautiful trees I've seen! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!!! These are legacy trees, and huge trees. Right spots include large open spaces like parks or large lawns (I am trying to replace a dead box-elder in the park across the street from me with a N. Catalpa). Like a Ginkgo, their best beauty develops at maturity. Give these trees time and a good location, and they become a legacy tree admired by many. (P.S., for those who think the pods are menacing and obnoxious, I just want to point out they are fascinating to little kids. This is great for urban environments as sometimes it is difficult to kids to be fascinated by nature in the concrete jungle of a city).
On Mar 16, 2007, Bledsoe from Fort Collins, CO wrote:
I would argue with some of the people who have said negative things about this tree. It's an absolutely beautiful sight to see it in bloom. Here in colorado sometimes trees are limited that will grow with such sucess and this one. The leaves are rather large and fun to look at.
On Jan 8, 2007, masonesker from Lansing, MI wrote:
The Catalpa is a very worthwhile choice to grow. I do not know if this is a native tree to Lansing, Michigan, but I do know from the book Michigan Trees by Otis that is is a naturalized species here in the Grand River Valley. Old specimans are often found in this area in graveyards and around fine old homes. While it does not seem to be very popular here anymore I would recommend it to anyone who wants an unusual, fast growing shade tree. When in bloom this tree has an ethereal beauty that can not be matched. The large, heart shaped leaves seem more like they belong in a rain forest than in Michigan. The one I planted does fine on a slightly shaded hill with dry sand/clay soil. I would argue that they do live for over 100 years; in rich moist soil they grow over 70 ft. in this region. Note: While this is a great lawn tree it is not for the anal as the large seed pods can create a mess. Much like most things in life it is a trade off. No more trouble than a Black Walnut or a Sycamore. Kids like the leaves and the birds seem drawn to this fine tree- well worth planting and easily grown from seed.
On Mar 28, 2006, ineedacupoftea from Denver, CO wrote:
This tree has its place. Out of place, it is a menace.
Very attractive trees can be grown from seed and will outpace an expensive large container-grown plant. Full size in 10 years. Fast growth makes it a mildly brittle-stemmed plant, but heat/drought/soil tolerances with very unusual texture make it worthwhile in certain places. (Good to even 8.0 pH) Do not plant where the large leaf litter or rigid-dried-pod-litter will be a problem. Seedlings are not difficult to kill by mowing.
This tree is the highlight of our early summer, The blossoms are very aromatic and wonderful, The leaf provides great shade for our hot Utah summers. This tree is very hardy and bug/disease resistant. Fast/Medium grower. In fall this tree will usually drop it's leaves within a weeks period of time and usually after a consistant period of hard frost. This makes leaf clean up a rather short period of time. The pods can be a pain but with a good bagging mower this is a non-issue for us. No special watering is required for this tree which makes it essentially care free once established. This is the only tree I would consider a must for any yard we have.
On Oct 21, 2003, gold_thumb from Dunstable, MA wrote:
The large heart-shaped leaves and irregular branching are an obnoxious contrast to the northern landscape. The most interest the tree provides is when its in bloom with large flowers that remind me of Rhododendron catawbiense 'Album' as the flowers are white with a clear violet-blue throat. I can't believe nurseries used to sell this!!! In the tree's defense, it is a strong fast growing tree but for ornamental purposes its simply not worth digging the hole.
On Jul 31, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:
Fast grower and transplants easily. Prone to powdery mildew, though.
This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:
Greensboro, Alabama Jones, Alabama Vincent, Alabama Morrilton, Arkansas Merced, California Beulah Valley, Colorado Clifton, Colorado Denver, Colorado Fort Collins, Colorado Ellendale, Delaware Vernonburg, Georgia Chicago, Illinois Oak Park, Indiana Denison, Iowa Boonsboro, Maryland Dunstable, Massachusetts Sterling, Massachusetts Brooklyn, Michigan Lansing, Michigan Eveleth, Minnesota Cross Timbers, Missouri Hamilton, New Jersey Canastota, New York Essex, New York Jefferson, New York Bay View, Ohio Columbia Station, Ohio Lancaster, Ohio Toledo, Ohio Salem, Oregon East Rochester, Pennsylvania Greencastle, Pennsylvania Kennett Square, Pennsylvania Parkesburg, Pennsylvania Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Sayre, Pennsylvania West Newton, Pennsylvania Conway, South Carolina Westmoreland, Tennessee Provo, Utah Salt Lake City, Utah Arlington, Virginia Spokane, Washington Airport Road, Wyoming