Representatives of the genus Catalpa grow in the natural forests of North and South America and Asia. Due to its large leaves, original flowers, a catalpa tree or shrub is also in demand among gardeners.
Among the Maya Indians, the tree was fanned with legends and fairy tales, it was considered a tree of happiness.
- What is a catalpa tree?
- Varieties for Russian gardens
- Planting and leaving
What is a catalpa tree?
The genus Catalpa is represented by 13 different species. Some of them came to Europe and Russia from America, others from Asian countries, Japan and China.
Typical representatives of the genus are trees or shrubs with very large leaves. The shape of the leaves is oval. There are representatives with heart-shaped leaves. It was these leaves that embodied the hearts of warriors in Indian tales. The flowers near the tree are very fragrant, large bells, often white, with specks and stripes. Flowering is quite long, occurs in June - July.
After flowering, fruits appear in their place - pods. The length of the fruit in some species reaches half a meter, the width is up to 1.5 cm. From a distance, the narrow and long pods resemble spaghetti or pasta hanging from the branches. In its natural habitats, the catalpa can reach a height of 40 meters.
Some wild species are a source of valuable wood, similar in characteristics to oak wood. But among the gardeners of Russia, the catalpa gained recognition precisely because of its tempting appearance, beautiful flowers and leaves, and bizarre fruits.
Varieties for Russian gardens
In Russia, trees from the genus Catalpa began to appear in the middle of the 19th and early 20th centuries. They were grown in botanical gardens, but were gradually adapted to the climate of various regions of Russia. Currently, many species winter well at negative temperatures down to -25 degrees. Young plants or annual growths are more often susceptible to freezing.
In the conditions of Russian gardens, this is a very vigorous shrub or trees no higher than 7-12 meters. They are mainly presented in three types:
- catalpa bignonium
- catalpa magnificent
- catalpa ovoid
Catalpa is magnificent
The plant perfectly withstands the climatic conditions of central Russia. It reaches a height of 10 meters. It has a straight, slender trunk, a lush hip crown and very large, up to 25 cm, oval leaves. By mid-June, the plant is covered with panicles of inflorescences of light cream or white flowers, brown specks and yellow stripes. Depending on the region, flowering lasts from two weeks to a month.
Immediately after the tree has faded, long, up to 40 cm, narrow pods appear in place of the inflorescences. They mature completely only by October, but do not fall off, but remain on the tree almost until spring. Giving an exotic look to the snowy garden.
Catalpa gorgeous has a decorative variety - pulverulent, which is distinguished by the original "powdered" surface of the leaves.
This representative of the genus reaches a height of 10 - 12 meters. High straight trunks are crowned with a spherical crown. Leaves up to 20 cm in length. Flowering is quite long, up to 40 days. Flowering period July - August It has several decorative forms:
- Aurea, golden leaves at the beginning of the growing season
- Nana, has a crown in the form of a compact ball, the diameter of which reaches from 2 to 4 meters
- Kene, yellow leaves with a green center
- Purpurea, leaves are reddish brown when blooming
All forms are rather slow-growing. The best winter hardiness is shown by Nana, although she can also be subject to freezing and winter drying. The maximum height is 4.5 meters, the leaves are oval, flowers with purple specks and yellow stripes. The fruits do not have time to ripen.
The most frost-resistant and, in contrast to the magnificent and bignoniform, has a short growing season. All young shoots have time to woody before the onset of cold weather, so they practically do not freeze. Withstands frosts down to - 29 degrees. It can also be in multi-stemmed shrub forms.
All types can be used in the design of gardens and parks.
Planting and leaving
The best time to plant an exotic tree is spring. You can buy seedlings in specialized nurseries and garden centers.
It is better to choose a place that is as protected from the wind as possible. Since large leaves can break in strong winds, and in winter, the plant is also afraid of cold winds. Poor soils are desirable, since on fatty soils, the plant will give a large vegetative growth during the summer season, which will not have time to lignify and freeze over the winter.
It is necessary to avoid places with a close location of groundwater. The acidity of the soil is neutral. The distance between the planting pits can be from 3 to 6 meters, depending on the chosen shapes. Add ash, leafy soil, sand and peat to the bottom of the pit. After planting, spill the seedlings with water and cover the tree trunks with peat soil.
In the first two years, if possible, cover the planting for the winter.
In more southern regions, with mild winters, feed the tree two or three times per season with organic fertilizers based on compost or rotted manure. All other agricultural techniques, including the fight against diseases and pests, do not fundamentally differ from other garden trees, so any gardener can master it.
Catalpa in landscape and landscape compositions
Due to its exotic appearance, catalpa can be used in single plantings as a specimen plant. Low Nana are suitable for small gardens and adjoining areas.
Park paths decorated with catalpa also look great. For wide alleys, magnificent spreading catalps are suitable, for narrow paths it is better to use the bignonial Nana catalpa.
If there is a pond in the garden, then this plant is simply created to decorate its shores. You can combine shapes with purple and gold leaves.
Currently, catalpa is a tree that is widely used in urban landscaping, it replaces the traditional poplars and lindens. Since representatives of the genus perfectly withstand gas pollution in large cities, they are very drought-resistant, and many forms bloom at an early age and bloom annually. All types of catalpa are excellent honey plants.
Review of the catalpa plant from an expert in the video: