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Native alternative(s) for Catalpa ovata:
Catalpa bignonioides Catalpa bignonioides
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Ulmus alata Ulmus alata
Ulmus americana Full Form
Quercus nigra Form

Japanese Catalpa Catalpa ovata

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
kuh-TAL-puh oh-VAY-tuh
Description

Chinese Catalpa is a small deciduous tree native to China's forests. It self-seeds easily and has naturalized in some areas of the U.S.A.  In its mature form it can be an attractive rounded shade tree but it often grows out of shape and its large leaves can become damaged as the growing season progresses making them less attractive.  It is an ideal tree for that tricky low wet spot or an area with poor soils.  It prefers moist loamy soil high in organic matter and full sun to partial shade.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.  Catalpa sphinx moth caterpillars can do significant damage.  Mildew, twig blight, verticillium wilt, and leaf spots are occasional problems.  Leaves can become damaged and look ratty from wind or hail.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#shade tree#wildlife plant#poor drainage#moths#flowering tree#food source#deer resistant#weak wood#naturalizes#wind dispersed seeds#self-seeding#late spring flowers#poor soils tolerant#larval host plant#deciduous tree#moth larvae#larval host tree
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#deciduous#shade tree#wildlife plant#poor drainage#moths#flowering tree#food source#deer resistant#weak wood#naturalizes#wind dispersed seeds#self-seeding#late spring flowers#poor soils tolerant#larval host plant#deciduous tree#moth larvae#larval host tree
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Catalpa
    Species:
    ovata
    Family:
    Bignoniaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    China
    Wildlife Value:
    Larval food source for the sphix moth caterpillar.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 20 ft. 0 in. - 30 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Tree
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Rounded
    Spreading
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    24-60 feet
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Slender green seed pods mature to brown 16" long 1/3" wide split lengthwise to reveal white fluffy seeds
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    3/4" yellow-white with purple and orange spots, bell-shaped flowers on 10" long panicles. Flowers that resemble orchids appear in late spring, not as showy as C. bignoniodes.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Insignificant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Large 10" long and wide ovate light green entire to lobed margins. Cordate at the base and pointed at the tips. Smooth except for hairy veins on the undersides. insignificant yellow fall color.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Surface/Attachment:
    Fissured
    Ridges
    Bark Description:
    Ridged and fissured gray-brown
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Flowering Tree
    Shade Tree
    Attracts:
    Moths
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Dry Soil
    Poor Soil
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Weak Wood
    Weedy