Southern catalpa is a short-trunked tree with a rounded to irregular form that can reach 30 to 40 feet in height. Attractive, large panicles of white bell-shaped flowers with yellow and purple spots bloom in early summer and are long-lasting. Native to floodplains, southern catalpa is very adaptable and tolerant of adverse conditions.
All Common Names:
- Residential and parks,
- City parkway,
- Wide median,
- Restricted sites
Tree or Plant Type:
- Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
- North America
- Shade tree,
- Large tree (more than 40 feet),
- Medium tree (25-40 feet)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Dry sites,
- Wet sites,
- Alkaline soil
- May be difficult to find in nurseries,
- Messy fruit/plant parts,
- Weak wood and branch structure
- Spring blossoms,
- Fragrant flowers,
- Showy flowers,
- Attractive bark
Season of Interest:
- Mid spring,
- Late spring
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
- Insect pollinators
Tree & Plant Care
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 including leaf spots and powdery mildew.
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.
Native geographic location and habitat
Found in the southern United States.
Bark color and texture
Bark is gray-brown, scaly with age.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Simple, opposite or sometimes whorled leaves; 4 to 8 inches long with an entire margin.
Bright green in summer with little to no fall color.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
White, funnel-shaped flowers with purple markings inside; grouped in a 4 to 8 inch tall upright cluster.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
Pod-like capsules, 8 to 20 inches long, filled with winged seeds.