A mature, symmetrically rounded catalpa tree can be a tree of great beauty, particularly in spring and early summer when the foliage is young and the flowers are in bloom. Unfortunately, it is otherwise a rather coarse tree that does not always deserve a prominent place in the landscape. Branches are brittle and mature trees infrequently exhibit classic form. Foliage also tends to depreciate as the growing season progresses, the large leaves being subject to damage from hail, wind, insects and sometime disease. It can be effectively used in the landscape for difficult areas such as moist low spots or dry areas with poor soils.
Deciduous tree with an open rounded crown that is native to central China.
This catalpa is most distinguished by its attractive foliage and spectacular flowers. Unlobed, broad-ovate leaves with pointed tips emerge in spring with bronze tinges, but mature to a rich medium green. Rosy-pink flowers with purple-brown spotting bloom in panicles in late spring (May-June). Flowers of this plant are considered to be ornamentally superior to the flowers of most other catalpas. Flowers give way to extremely narrow seedpods (to 1/4” wide) that may grow to as long as 30”. The seedpods mature in fall to dark brown and then split open lengthwise to release the seeds within. (info source: missouribotanicalgarden.org)
Genus - Catalpa
Species - Fargesii
Common name - Chinese Bean Tree
Pre-Treatment - Required
Plant type - Tree
Vegetation type - Deciduous
Hardiness zones - 5 - 7
Exposure - Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade
Height - 30'-50' / 9 - 15 m
Spread - 20'-35' / 6 - 10 m
Growth rate - Fast
Bloom season - May to June
Leaf / Flower color - Green / Rosy-pink with purple brown spots
Soil PH - Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil type - Clay, laom, Sand, prefers moist fertile
Water requirements - Average Water
Landscape uses - Feature Plant, Shade Trees, Street Trees
Seeds can be soaked and sown with no pretreatment, but it could increase the germination rate.
1. Soak seeds in warm water for 12 hours.
2. Pour the seeds into a plastic storage bag with moist and sterile sand or vermiculite and place the bag into a refrigerator that maintains a temperature of 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the seeds in this location for three weeks.
3. Fill a seed tray with potting soil until it reaches 1/2 inch from the top of the tray.
4. Remove the seeds from the refrigerator. Poke holes in the soil that are 1/4 inch deep and insert one Catalpa seed into each hole. Cover the holes with soil.
5. Water the soil daily and keep it constantly moist until the Catalpa seeds germinate. Afterward, water the plants when the top of the soil feels dry.
6. Wait until the plants reach approximately 3 to 4 inches tall and dig them out of the seed tray gently using your fingers. Insert one Catalpa tree seedling into a 5- to 6-inch diameter plant pot filled with potting soil.
7. Water the Catalpa seeds as needed throughout the winter months and keep them in an indoor location or greenhouse until the threat of frost has passed in the spring.
8. Select an outdoor planting location that is in full sun. Catalpa seeds will grow in all types of soil but prefer slightly moist locations.
9. Dig a hole with a shovel that is large enough to accommodate the root of the seedling and insert the roots of the Catalpa into the hole. Fill in the hole with soil and water the soil until it is moist. (source: ehow.com)
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