The Catalpa bignonioides is native to the southeast of North America. This tree often grows along streams and river banks. The Catalpa bignonioides is commonly named southern catalpa, Indian bean tree or cigar tree because of the seeds pods.
The Catalpa bignonioides ‘Nana’ is umbrella shaped because it is grafted. Nana is Latin for dwarf. It is also commonly named dwarf Indian bean tree or dwarf southern catalpa and only reaches a height of about 16 feet (5 metres) instead of the 49 feet (15 metres) of the Catalpa bignonioides. The height depends on the height of the grafting point.
The leaves are green and heart-shaped and can get op to 8 inches (20 centimetres) wide. The leaves appear late in spring. In autumn the leaves turn partly yellow and black before falling.
The Catalpa bignonioides ‘Nana’ is usually pruned every year and does not bloom. The best period for pruning is at the end of November or at the beginning of March as long as it does not freeze. Cut the branches at about 6 inches (15 centimetres) above the graft. Because of the pruning and the grafting this dwarf southern catalpa forms a denser crone than the Catalpa bignonioides and the Catalpa bignonioides ‘Aurea’.
Unfortunately the Catalpa bignonioides ‘Nana’ is often falsely called Catalpa bungei. The Catalpa bungei is also a small catalpa but the Catalpa bungei (native to northern China) does bloom.
Cats like to sharpen their nails on the trunk. I have placed some chicken wire around the bottom of the trunk to protect it. Otherwise there will not be any bark left.
Attracts bees: no
Exposure: sun/part shade
Flower colour: none
Flowering time: none
Foliage colour: green
Fragrant flower: no
Hardiness: -20 ºC (-4 ºF)
Height: 16 feet (5 m)