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Catalpa bignonioides
  • RHS AGM
  • RHS Plants for pollinators

Indian bean tree

C. bignonioides is a spreading medium-sized deciduous tree, with pale green, broad-ovate leaves to 25cm in length. Flowers 3-4cm in width, white, marked with orange and purple, in conical panicles. Fruit a slender bean-like pod

Other common names
catawba
common catalpa
see moreeastern catalpa
Indian cigar
smoking bean
Synonyms
Catalpa syringaefolia
Catalpa catalpa

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Size
Ultimate height
Higher than 12 metres
Time to ultimate height
20–50 years
Ultimate spread
Wider than 8 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained, Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Orange Purple White Green
Autumn Green Brown
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or North–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H6
Botanical details
Family
Bignoniaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Catalpa are deciduous trees of spreading habit, with handsome, large leaves and erect panicles of showy, bell-shaped flowers in late summer, followed by persistent, slender bean-like seed capsules

Name status

Correct

Plant range
SE USA

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in a moist but well-drained, fertile soil in a sunny position; will tolerate a heavy clay soil. Shelter from strong winds as these may shred the large leaves. Protect from late spring frosts when young

Propagation

Propagate by seed, softwood cuttings or grafting

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Architectural
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Low Maintenance
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Pruning group 1

Pests

Generally pest free

Diseases

Generally disease free

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