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Catalpa bignonioides

Indian bean tree

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Key information

Plant type

Deciduous tree

Flower colour

White

Feature

Flowers, Fruit, Dramatic foliage

Hardiness

Hardy

Skill level

Beginner

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

Laila

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.


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