The name of catalpa tree derives from the Indian language, meaning “elephant`s ears”. These are attractive, mostly deciduous (sometime evergreen) trees with broadly rounded crown. The leaves are heart-shaped and large with long petioles. The showy bell-shaped flowers up to 7 cm long, held in large terminal sprays, are white or cream, with lower lips splashed with purple blotches and spots.
Planting a well-designed grouping of plants can be a challenging task, especially when dealing with the fast growing trees or shrubs, which increase twice in size in 5 or 10 years. The slow-growing conifers and deciduous trees with an annual growth rate of only 1 to 2 centimetres, or those which are generally kept in shape by regular clipping, lend themselves far better to such planting schemes.