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Common Name:

Southern Catalpa or Indian Bean Tree

Scientific Name:

Catalpa bignonioides

Family Name:



Southern Catalpa is a medium size deciduous shade tree with a rounded to spreading crown of large branches originating from a stout trunk. The tree is valued for its large cordate (heart-shaped) leaves and terminal panicles of white late spring to summer flowers. Platy bark and wide site adaptability are additional assets. The giant green-bean shaped capsules are interesting.

Plant Habit or Use:

Tree, medium tree



Flower Color:

White with purple throat splotches and yellow spots

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer

Fruit Characteristics:

Two valved green-bean shaped capsules


30 ft to 45 ft


30 ft to 50 ft

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: High Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: Low Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Low Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: Medium Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Low Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

6, 7, 8, 9

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Southern Catalpa is subject to several serious foliar insect and disease pests, particularly leaf spots, powdery mildew, catalpa sphinx; Verticilium wilt is a serious vascular disease; tendency for a summer leaf drop.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.