Also called Southern catalpa, the Indian bean tree, Catalpa Bignonioides, blooms with flowers having pink rims in summer and also during spring. The white flowers have a hint of pink which gives a very beautiful and subtle look.

Catalpa Bignonioides Indian bean treeThe indian bean tree can be used for shade or just as a specimen, and the flowers are followed by green beans which are shaped like cigars and turn brown as they mature. These are deciduous trees, so shed off leaves, flowers and beans more than other leaf shedding plants and they do it during summer and in autumn as well. 

What light and soil does the Catalpa Bignonioides need?

They are still a top favourite because of their unique flowers. For optimal growth, these trees need full sun or a very bright shade along with drained soil that lets water run deep to the roots as well. They live well in moist ground but gradually adapt to the type of soil present which is very attractive for gardeners. The flowers on Indian bean trees are not very resistant to strong coastal winds, therefore, it is advised that they should be planted away from the coastal winds or else the flowers can shred pretty quickly. 

Caring for the Indian bean tree Catalpa Bignonioides

If you plant this tree, you won’t need to buy a lot of fertiliser since it only requires a balanced fertiliser once every year to keep it thriving. You can dust the fertiliser over the soil. If you are planting baby trees, then make sure that the soil is moist all the time. Once it grows, drought tolerance will increase. As the tree grows, pruning should be done by cutting the weakened branches from young trees. To maximise shade, remove the lower branches once the tree grows to a good height, this will also make cleaning easier and less of a hassle. If the damaged branches are not removed while the tree is young, it is vulnerable and might get a disease through the damaged branch.

Indian bean tree pests and bugs

Several bugs and aphids are a big threat to the indian bean tree, which are naturally controlled by their enemies. However, if there is still a need to stop these insects from attacking, insecticidal soap is used or special oils are used which help in eliminating these insects. If there is a heavy attack, then thorough and repeated sprays are required to ensure safety of the tree. Mature mealybugs are an annoyance since they have a protective coating which can also resist these insecticides, depending on where you live,  in this case rubbing alcohol or neem soap helps to save the tree. Indian bean trees are commonly seen in open spaces where they bloom with full spring. This tree could most definitely be the plant you are looking for.

Indian bean tree height and spread

Catalpa Bignonioides Nana forms a mophead, rounded crown, it will reach a full height of around 4 metres and spread of 3 metres in a period of about 25 years.

Catalpa erubescens Purpurea – Purple Indian Bean Tree

Another popular Indian Bean Tree is the intensely deep purple (near black) foliage which benefits greatly from hard pruning every year. It can thus be maintained as a shrub rather than a tree and display very handsome foliage at head height. This similar treatment is also very useful for Catalpa bignonioides Aurea which has butter yellow leaves. This is usually supplied as established plants in 5 Litre containers.