Purpleleaf Catalpa Tree
Purpleleaf Catalpa Leaf
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Purpleleaf Catalpa Tree
Purpleleaf Catalpa Leaf

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-8
  • Spacing: 25-30'
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Purpleleaf Catalpa

Catalpa erubescens purpurea

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.

Purpleleaf Catalpa is a bold and bodacious ornamental tree that will turn your backyard into a tropical getaway. Its heart-shaped leaves, which can span an amazing 10 to 12 inches in length and emerge a shimmering passion-fruit-purple in spring, are unlike anything you’ve ever seen in a hardy tree. The leaves eventually fade to green, but giant, colorful foliage isn’t the only thing that makes this cold-hardy tree seem tropical. In early summer, big clusters of white, orchid-like flowers hold court, drawing in hummingbirds from near and far. Pour yourself a piña colada, kick back, and enjoy the show!

Growth Facts

  • Hardiness Zone: 5-8
  • Spacing: 25-30'
  • Exposure: Full Sun
  • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • Show more ›

Recommended by Our Growers

The Story

Two Catalpas have had a long history in American life—a species native to the Midwest and another to the Deep South.  The purpleleaf version we offer is a hybrid between the Southerner and a third species, the Chinese Catalpa.  Those two species were first hybridized in France in 1866.  The purpleleaf selection may have originated (no one is sure) in the nursery of Thomas Meehan of Germantown, Pennsylvania sometime before 1886.  No doubt it was a hot item.  It was the Victorian Age, and bold, tropical-looking plants were all the rage.

The Details

Young chocolate purple leaves turn to dark green as they age. Masses of creamy white flowers with yellow and brown flecks appear in late summer followed by seed pods in fall. Quite a unique tree to grab some attention for your yard!

How to Grow

Wild Catalpas have gotten along fine without human intervention for ages.  They pop up even in the most inhospitable vacant lots in the heart of the city.  This one doesn’t need to be coddled, either.  It can handle intense heat, dry soil, and periodic flooding.  Despite its Southern heritage, it’s surprisingly cold-hardy, too.  It should survive in all of Massachusetts and in coastal areas further north as well.  This is a fast growing tree that flowers at a young age.  It gets the show on the road!

More Info

Cold Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 5
Heat Tolerance/Hardiness Zone 8
Exposure Full Sun
Avg Mature Height 30'
Avg Mature Width 30'
Spacing 25-30'
Growth Rate Medium
Leaf Color Purple
Flower Color White/Yellow/Burgundy
Flower Time Summer
Cary Award Winner No
PA Gold Medal Award No
Attractive Bark No
Attracts Birds No
Attracts Butterflies No
Attracts Hummingbirds Yes
Attracts Pollinators No
Deer Resistant Yes
Drought Tolerant Yes
Dry, Poor Soils No
Edible Fruit No
Fragrant Yes
Groundcover No
Hedge/Windbreak No
Native No
Salt Tolerance/Seashore Yes
Seasonal Cut Branches No
Shade Tolerance No
Showy Flowers Yes
Specimen Yes
Urban Conditions Yes
Utility Line Trees No
Wet Moist Soils Yes
Winter Interest No
Woodland Garden No
Decor/Craft Use No

Size Guide

Size Guide Scale


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Purpleleaf Catalpa Tree
Purpleleaf Catalpa Leaf