Catalpa bungei


Not sure what is wrong with my tree. It’s growing from the trunk but no new growth on the top. It’s early in the season, but I’m concerned it will not grow this year at all.


Catalpa bungei (Manchurian catalpa) is a deciduous tree native to China and uncommon to find in North America. There is another dwarf, rounded bush grafted onto a tree trunk which is a form of Catalpa bignonioides (Indian Bean Tree) that is mysteriously sometimes called “catalpa bungei” as well. Since this is a grafted plant, depending on how low on the trunk the shoots are forming, these could be coming from the (tree) rootstock rather than the (bush) scion. You can read more about the confusion around plants named “catalpa bungei” here and here.

If you would like to send in another question to our team with photos of the plant (including the shoots) this could help us identify what kind of plant you have with more certainty.

As long as the tree seemed healthy during the last season, and hasn’t been damaged, it may just be late to leaf out. Catalpas are typically a later tree to bud, and they grow new leaves in the spring. Depending on the microclimate in your garden it could take as long as the beginning of June before it starts budding. Catalpa bungei prefers a full sun location with well-drained soil.

June 4, 2022