Shade and Ornamental Trees: Catalpa (Indian Bean)

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Catalpa bignonioides 'Aurea'

Golden Catalpa or Indian Bean Tree has many outstanding features including huge (20+cm x 15+cm) golden yellow heart-shaped leaves emerging with a blush of red in late spring. Foliage is surprisingly resistant to sunburn and keeps the golden to lime golden green colour througout summer. White trumpet shaped flowers (like foxglove) with a yellow throat and purple sparkles appear in huge panicles in summer. The fruit is a bean-like pod about 20-40cm long often remaining on the tree in winter.

Catalpa bignonioides 'Nana'

Dwarf Southern Catalpa is a grafted dwarf with a rounded, dense head. (Specimen Trees Wholesale Nurseries - 2m std) **Dwarf Catalpa is seldom seen flowering. Catalpas are very adaptable, tolerant to dry, wet and urban pollutants.

Catalpa x erubescens 'Purpurea'

New, large leaves and shoots of the Purple Indian Bean Tree are almost black (blackish-purple) becoming dark green later in the season. Similar flowers to other catalpas, in summer, show nicely against dark foliage. The bell or trumpet-like flowers (like foxglove) are 3cm in diameter, white with orange and purple markings on an open upright panicle. Long, slender, bean-like seed capsules hang from the branches in fall, remaining on the tree well after leafdrop. Regular pruning will keep the tree in bounds. In winter, coppicing (pruning to the ground), is also a method used to keep this tree as a "smaller" shrub or one can use the pollarding technique of pruning to a main trunk. Avoid wind exposure.

Catalpa speciosa

Overall shape is somewhat oval to pyramidal. Leaves are large, light green in colour with a yellow to brown fall colour. Late to leaf out. Flowering can be heavy, large and upright with clusters. Loved by bees and other beneficial insects.