Northern Catalpa Tree
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Northern Catalpa Tree
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Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 4-8
  • Spacing: 30-40'
  • Exposure: Full Sun/Part Shade
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Northern Catalpa

Catalpa speciosa

This plant is not available at this time through Bower & Branch. Bower & Branch provides this information for reference only. Please click here to be placed on a waiting list. See below for other selections.

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!

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 4-8
  • Spacing: 30-40'
  • Exposure: Full Sun/Part Shade
  • Bloom Time: Spring
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Recommended by Our Growers

The Story

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.

The Details

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.

More Info

Cold Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 4
Heat Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 8
Exposure Full Sun/Part Shade
Avg Mature Height 50-80'
Avg Mature Width 20-40'
Spacing 30-40'
Growth Rate Medium - Fast
Leaf Color Green
Fall Leaf Color Yellow
Flower Color White
Flower Time Spring
Fruit Color N/A
Fruit Time N/A
Foliage Color Green
Bloom Time Spring
Cary Award Winner No
PA Gold Medal Award No
Attractive Bark No
Attracts Birds Yes
Attracts Butterflies No
Attracts Hummingbirds Yes
Attracts Pollinators Yes
Deer Resistant Yes
Drought Tolerant No
Dry, Poor Soils No
Edible Fruit No
Fragrant Yes
Groundcover No
Hedge/Windbreak No
Native Yes
Salt Tolerance/Seashore No
Seasonal Cut Branches No
Shade Tolerance No
Showy Flowers Yes
Specimen Yes
Urban Conditions No
Utility Line Trees No
Wet Moist Soils No
Winter Interest Yes
Woodland Garden No
Decor/Craft Use No

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale

Scale

Size: C

Size C

This graphic shows the approximate size and form of the Tree you are viewing.

Size C Trees:

8-10' tall, grown and delivered as balled & burlapped. This tree is BIG! It is recommended that a tree this size be moved and installed by a professional. This is a strong, sturdy, and fast growing tree that will make an immediate impact on your landscape.

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Northern Catalpa Tree