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Catalpa bignonioides

Indian bean tree

Reader rating

From 2 ratings

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Key information

Plant type

Deciduous tree

Flower colour



Flowers, Fruit, Dramatic foliage



Skill level


photo by Fiona McLeod, copyright GAP Photos (253127)

Plant details

This is a showy tree from the south-eastern parts of the USA, grown for its large, floppy leaves up to 25cm long and 15cm wide. They open later than most, but make a fantastic show, and the weight has been known to snap off branches on mature trees. There's a prolific show of midsummer white flowers, followed by thin, green, bean-like pods (which turn brown) up to 40cm long. Good for pollarding. The 3.7m-high 'Nana' is a better bet for smaller gardens. Don't let the soil dry out, and avoid a site with fierce winds. It has been given the Award of Garden Merit by the RHS.

Family: Bignoniaceae

Genus: Catalpa

Species: bignonioides

Plant type: Deciduous tree

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers, Fruit, Dramatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light, Moist

Hardiness: Hardy

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 1500cm

Spread: 1500cm

Time to plant: October to March

Reader reviews


I love my Catalpa, it doesn't flower as much as I would like though as I prune it hard when its dormant every year to encourage young vigorous growth. Not sure when to prune it this year as we haven't had a frost yet and the last thing I want to do is, prune it then we get a frost. would be about my luck tbh.


I have a Catalpa that has been growing in a pot for several years. The soil has been changed and is topped up with new each year. It hasn't flowered once, does anyone know why or what I can do to help it.

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