The Chinese catalpa thrives in Midwestern urban environments. It has showy blossoms that appear in the spring, followed by bean-like seed pods. This tree can withstand a range of soil types, including wet and dry conditions, which makes it useful in difficult sites such as moist low spots and dry sites with poor soils.
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- Zone 5
- Zone 6
- Zone 7
- Zone 8
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
- Partial sun (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Dry sites
- Wet sites
- Alkaline soil
- Alkaline soil
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Medium tree (25-40 feet)
- Mid spring
- Late spring
Size and Form
30 to 40 feet high and 25 to 30 feet wide; irregular to rounded form
Tree & Plant Care
Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Prefers moist fertile loams.
Tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions including both wet and dry soils.
Tolerant of seasonal flooding.
This tree can be messy when flowers and fruits fall; branches are brittle and may fall in storms.
Disease, pests and problems
Verticillium wilt and minor problems like leaf spots and powdery mildew.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to China.
Bark color and texture
Bark of mature trees is fissured, prominently ridged and pale gray-brown.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple leaves may be alternate or whorled.
Wide, ovate, light green leaves (to 10 inches long and wide) are usually entire but sometimes 3 to 5 lobed.
Leaves abruptly taper to points at the tips.
Foliage turns an undistinguished yellow in fall.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Flowers are attractive, but not as showy as southern catalpa (C. bignonioides ) and northern catalpa (C. speciosa).
Bell-shaped, yellowish-white flowers (each to 3/4 inch long) with purple and orange inner spotting; appear in clusters (panicles), to 10 inches long.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Pod-like capsules, 8 to 12 inches long, filled with winged seeds; capsules much thinner than those of other catalpa species.