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Audubon® Northern Catalpa
We currently do not deliver to your area at this time, please contact us to discuss other options.
Bring a tropical vibe to your backyard bird sanctuary with this bold, bodacious, but perfectly hardy, native tree! Northern Catalpa cloaks itself in immense, 10- to 12-inch, heart-shaped leaves, making it look like something you’d see on a Hawaiian vacation, and the flowers—appearing in late spring—add to the effect. The blooms look like white orchids, and they open in big bunches throughout the canopy. Hummingbirds love the sweet nectar they contain, and they will be constant visitors. Pull up a lawn chair, pour yourself a Mai Tai, watch the birds, and enjoy your “tropical” staycation!
May Benefit & Attract: Hummingbirds
Take Birds Under Your Wing
New! Introducing our bird-friendly collection of Audubon® Native Plants & Trees
- Better for Birds, 100% Neonic-Free
- Not Available in non-native regions, states or counties (see Native Regions map)
Bower & Branch is proud to grow Audubon® Native Plants for Birds in partnership with the National Audubon Society to help birds and other wildlife thrive.
- The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow
- This bird-friendly native plant provides food and shelter for local and migrating birds and other wildlife
- Your purchase and planting of this native flora directly supports Audubon’s conservation mission and impact
- Learn how you can help birds in your home and community through Audubon’s Plants for Birds program
- Audubon Native Plants & Trees are free of neonicotinoids and exclusively grown by Bower & Branch
Audubon® is a licensed and registered trademark of the National Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
Size AA (2-3' tall) container grown
Size B (8-9' tall) container grown
- Hardiness Zone: 4-8
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Recommended by Our Growers
At one time, Northern Catalpa probably only grew in a very small region near the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. We don’t know the original boundaries of its native habitat for sure, because once settlers arrived in the Midwest, they began to introduce the tree to new areas. Farmers found the rot-resistant wood to be excellent for fence posts, so they planted the fast-growing Catalpa extensively. Escaping cultivation by reseeding, it has spread itself even further—all over the eastern U.S. It’s a tough tree that grows in challenging conditions; Catalpa has even found its way into vacant lots in the heart of the city.
Catalpa is also known as the “Fishbait Tree,” because its leaves are the sole food source for the Catalpa sphinx moth caterpillar, which is considered choice bait for bass, bluegill, and catfish. Birders may be more interested in leaving the fat caterpillars for the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo. This roadrunner relative enjoys “Catalpa worms.”
How to Grow
Northern Catalpa is easy to please. This adaptable native thrives in many situations. It grows in dry soil (once established) as well as those that experience seasonal flooding. It tolerates infertile soil and has been used in healing lands degraded by mining. It even grows in part shade, though flowers will be less profuse there—plant it in full sun if you can. Catalpa does drop a fair amount of debris: twigs, bean-shaped seedpods, and of course those huge leaves in fall, so be sure to keep it away from pools and patios.
This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.
Size B Trees:
8-9' tall, grown and delivered in a container. This tree is BIG! You will need a truck or trailer to bring this native home.
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