This native American tree was first reported in cultivation in 1728 and was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson's. It was grown at Monticello in the upper grove with Aspen, Umbrella Magnolia, and Chinaberry. Catalpa was one of the American trees Jefferson recommended to Madame de Tessé, his friend in Paris. Also known as Southern Catalpa and Indian Bean, this fast-growing tree is highly ornamental and deserves more use in our landscapes. Large clusters of white flowers spotted yellow and purple appear in early summer all over the outside of the tree, above the pale green foliage. In addition to its spectacular blooms, the Catalpa has a handsome sculptural appearance in winter.

Typical Blooming Dates: May into June
Growth Type: Deciduous Tree
Blossom Color(s): white
Hardiness Zones: 6-9
Location at Monticello: West Lawn
Planting Conditions: Full Sun

Featured in "A Rich Spot of Earth" June 2023 Podcast

Join Monticello's gardeners for a conversation on vining plants, self-sowing annuals, trees that flower in the summer, and weeds and what to do about them.