Catalpa tree seeds

Columbia, SC

I bought southern catalpa tree seeds from you know who (Catalpa tree seed co) I can not get them to sprout. Will the Zip lock bag trick work with them? How long should it take?

Blyth, ON(Zone 5b)

I don't know for sure how different southern catalpa might be from northern catalpa, and I'm a northern gardener not southern, so this may not work for you at all, but here's what I did.

I poked my northern catalpa seeds with a pin and put them in warm water to soak. If after a couple of days they haven't swelled at all, I poke them again and put them into fresh warm water to soak again. I just keep doing this as long as I think there's any hope.

Each time one swells and starts to germinate I transfer it to a 3" pot of seed starting mix. From there it always has taken exactly 4 days for the shoot to show above the soil - very prompt these seeds :-)

Right now I have 3 (out of the 4 seeds attempted) northern catalpa tree seedlings, about 10 inches tall, sitting under lights waiting to go outside in a couple of weeks.

Maybe this method will work for you too.


Columbia, SC

Thanks so much. Why do you grow Catalpas? Here in the south we use them to grow Catalpa Worms for catfishing.

Blyth, ON(Zone 5b)

I have a very personal reason for growing these particular Catalpas. The seeds were collected from the tree next to the seniors' apartment building my Dad lived in just before he passed away last year. So, I am growing them in his memory.

Ordinarily, we grow them here simply because they are so ornamental with their beautiful flowers and large heart-shaped leaves. We pick dew worms for fishing :-)


Greenville, WI

I have a catalpa tree. It has the most beautiful flowers. It seems as if in spring it is leafless one day and the next it is full. Same with the fall, one day it has all of its leaves and the next it has dropped them all. I never tried to germinate the pods. Might try that. I also didnt know that they could be worms lurking about. I have never seen any. Interesting!

Wild Rose, WI

Yow! I have catalpa seedling everywhere...they are like weeds here, especially after a hard moisture is key.

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

I grew some once I just planted them in stryofoam containers and they grew.


Pass Christian, MS(Zone 8b)

Worms on trees.....bluck. I'm sure they're very pretty. ::shiver::

Belleville , IL(Zone 6b)

They are webworms, I think. They make a big web and fisherman pull them out of the web.
I had some on my washingtom Hawthorn last year. Yukky. I just pulled them off and threw them away, since I don't fish.

somewhere, PA

I have tons of catalpa trees and never once have seen a worm on 'em.

The seeds germinate all over my property. If you ever want more seeds
to try (or a small tree), let me know.


Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Bird has planted a Southern Catalpa tree on my front yard. It was first noticed this spring, and it's now 6' plus. At what age would the tree make flowers? Anyone could help me with this info.?

somewhere, PA

I bet you only have another 1-2yrs to wait.

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

Thanks, I can wait, we've waited 5 years for Wisteria to bloom. So 2-3 years sounds promising. Will the webworms cats. I understand could be numerous. Do they make the tree looks unkemp. I was wondering should I move it to a location away from the front entrance?

Thumbnail by Lily_love
somewhere, PA

that's a gorgeous vista with the wisteria.

I haven't had webworms on my catalpas so can't comment that

East Prairie, MO(Zone 7a)

Tammy I was looking for Catalpa seeds to order and found this forum.  Do you still have some seeds or small trees.  I need trees badly.  I have some planted but it is taking forever for them to grow.  My lost had not trees at all on it and it is so hot for our home and I cant plant flowers that have to have shade.  I would verry much appreciate it.


somewhere, PA

Sami - I'm sure I could find you some seeds. I'm not sure exactly
when I could collect them. Send me D-Mail with your address & I'll
let you know when I'm sending you some.


Chillicothe, IL

I too am going to try growing a Catalpa from seed. We live next to a small private park, and in addition to trying to get some seeds to sprout I'll be looking for small trees volunteering there. The pods are everywhere all over the ground in several places, and so just in case they like a good 'chill' before germinating, these will have been through that.

The flowers on this tree are so lovely. I can hardly wait to have one growing in my own yard. In addition to the beautiful flowers, I love the large bean-like seed pods. They twist and turn in a most graceful way and shine like polished leather when buffed : ) I've collected them to use for wreathes before.

Best of luck to all,

North of Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

if you run out of seeds, just drop me a Dmail, I have some of these seeds.

Indianapolis, IN

If I want to try and germinate a seed pod, when is the best time to do it? Do I wait for them to fall to the ground, or pick them...and if so, when? Thanks!

Golden, CO

I have a bunch of seed pods on my tree and want to plant some more in my yard. Do I pull them off the tree or pick them off the ground?

Then is the best way to plant them in cups, put them in bags, swim them in water? Thanks.

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

There really easy to germinate.

Prattville, AL

Those are Catawba worms, not Web worms and they can defoliate a good sized tree here in a week. I adore the trees, but the huge, fat cats drive me crazy and their poop is always all over my back porch steps. I grow the Northern Catalpa here (AL) as it grows taller than the southern species.

Lincoln Park, MI

can anyone send some seeds , i would love to try some,, please,, thank you,, blessings, beth

Central Texas, TX(Zone 8b)

Hi Beth,

What are you doing here? LOL, just kidding. I have one planted at my parents land, but it's not making any seed that I'm aware of. Plus, in my opinion, looking back now I think they are really just weed trees.


West End, NC(Zone 7b)

I would love to either have some seed. or even a small tree I can baby. Like others here, when I bought this property, it was treeless. So I am looking for quick shade and pretty flowers. I have heard these are very fast growing. How far apart do you plant them?
Thanks so much!!

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

These can be large trees. Birds sew one on my front yard where I've lost a dogwood the previous year. The tree is on its 3rd season, no flowers yet but it's over 8-9 feet tall.

Council Hill, OK

I know this is a late message, but the catalpa worms only occur in the South from Oklahoma City to the Atlantic and South. Big green worm that look like tomato hornworm. Catfish love them. But what doesn't a catfish love?

Sonora, CA

I didn't see a definitive answer as to "when" to collect the seeds for germinating. I have some intact seed pods, but they're still green. They were picked from a tree recently, mid-October. Should I leave them alone until they turn brown?

North of Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

yes, pick them when they are brown. This rule applies to most seed pods.

Colorado Springs, CO

On May 15. 2007, ginnylynn explains how she prepares the Catalpa seed to plant.
Is it the whole pod (bean) that I need to plant?

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