Catalpa bignonioides

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Plant Specifics

Size:40-50 (70) ft tall by to 35 ft wide
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:White
Fruit Color:Brown
Noted for:Showy flowers, Interesting foliage


Recommended Uses:Specimen or shade tree.
Considerations:The foul-smelling crushed leaves, flower litter, seed pod litter, and root suckers can create a maintenance problem in residential landscapes.
Propagation:Seed and cuttings. Seedlings can sometimes be harvested from beneath mature trees.
Availability:Native nurseries, Seed
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Somewhat long very dry periods)
Moisture Tolerance: Somewhat moist, no flooding ----- to ----- Somewhat long very dry periods
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water.
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Low/no tolerance of salty wind or direct salt spray
Soil or other substrate:Loam, Sand
Soil pH:Slightly acidic to calcareous



Larval host for catalpa sphinx moth (Ceratomia catalpae) and tersa sphinx (Xylophanes tersa).  

Attracts various pollinators including butterflies and bees. 

Native Habitats:Dry hammocks, dry hardwood forests.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
8A 8B 9A 9B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:Extremely rot resistant wood was use for fence posts and rails. Wood was utilized where its soft, straight-grained, and low shrinkage properties were valuable. Occasional wood pieces and furniture parts were fashioned from catalpa. Sometimes grown to attract insects such as catawba worm (larva of the catalpa sphinx moth) which is used for fish bait.