Golden Indian Bean Tree Catalpa bignonioides Aurea

British Grown
Volume 1+
Price per plant £54.00
Price £54.00
Volume 1+
Price per plant £120.00
Price £120.00

All prices include VAT

Product description



A yellow leaved cultivar of the Indian Bean Tree, it has striking large heart shaped leaves that are wholly a rich, vibrant yellow colour which can fade or become greenish as the summer advances.  However in good summers the yellow can improve and seem stronger in the early autumn.

It is  a short wide tree, or sometimes when top grafted onto a stem as a standard.  It will rarely grow more than 6m (20ft) and can be wider than it is tall.

Where to grow

It is a very slow growing tree in normal British conditions, coming into leaf late and preferring warm sunshine to grow well, it is much branched as a result of the last bit of stem growth being killed by winter frosts.

Did you know?

Yellow leaved plants have yellow leaves because of the carotinoid pigments which absorb the blue-green and blue light from the sunlight that falls on the leaf.

Light reflected by carotinoid pigments appears yellow or yellow-orange to our eyes. Generally, carotinoids assist chlorophylls in the process of photosynthesis. Carotinoid pigments are involved in forming the colour of carrots.

When a leaf has a high concentration of carotinoids relative to other pigments, the leaf usually appears yellow.

Mature height
Small - 5-10 metres
5-10 meters
Growth rate
Very Slow
Soil type
All soil types
Sun levels
Full sun
Difficulty/hard to grow
Season of interest
Late to leaf
Large Leaves
Flower colour
Flowering month
Needs shelter
Garden Tree
Small garden Tree
City/Urban Sites


Pruning Catalpa bignoniodes Aurea

Early pruning is needed to establish a strong frame which will support the wide crown of Catalpa bignoniodes Aurea. Thin out weak, twiggy growth on young trees, plus any severely crossing stems. Catalpa responds reasonably well to hard pruning and pollarding, but this will at the expense of flowers.

When should I prune? Prune in winter when the plant is dormant. In early spring remove any frost damaged growth.

For the continued healthy growth of your trees, shrubs or hedging it is vital that you follow the advice below.


The main reason that plants die within 12 months of having been planted is lack of water.  It is essential throughout the spring and summer, to give a heavy enough watering to enable the water to penetrate right down to the deepest root level of the tree.  In hot dry spells give the equivalent of 2 bucketfuls every three days.

Weed Control

One of the most common causes of lack of water is competition from grass.  When trees are first establishing, the grass roots would be at the same level as the tree roots and are far more efficient at taking up water and thus choke the tree.  It is vital for 3 years after planting that your tree or hedge has a circle or strip one  metre wide completely free of grass.  The way to eliminate grass in order of effectiveness is:

  1. Spray off the grass with a glyphosate based weed killer such as Roundup.  Apply each year for the first 3 years.  It is best applied when the tree is dormant as it is absorbed through green leaves and kills the plant off at the roots.
  2. Firmly fit a mulch mat around the base of the tree by tucking the edges into the soil and put a thick layer of bark mulch on top of this.  This can be done after the initial spraying with glyphosate and should avoid the need for further spraying.

Mowing or strimming is NOT an answer to the problem.  Each time you mow, the grass will grow back more vigorously and strimming invariably leads to lacerated trunks.


If trees are not correctly secured they will rock in the planting pit. Roots not firmly in contact with the soil are unable to take up moisture and nutrients, resulting in die back or death of the tree.  Check, particularly after windy weather, that stakes are still solidly in the ground keeping the base of the trunk firm.  The purpose of the stakes is to anchor the roots.   Flexing in the wind, higher up the trunk, is not necessarily a problem if the roots are firm.

Bellow is list of the correct system to use to secure your trees.

  • 40/60, 60/80, 80/100 whips - Unless rabbit/deer problem no need to stake.
  • 100/125, 125/150  1.2m Cane and Easi tie.
  • 150/175  1.2m square stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • 175/250, 6/8, 8/10 15L 1.65 Tree stake and a buckle tie and spacer.
  • All larger trees. 2 x 1.65 Tree stake and cross rail with 38mm cushion spacer and 1m of 38mm strapping.


Always use our recommended tree ties or strapping.  These are designed and manufactured with the correct amount of give to hold the tree firm without strangling it. They should be checked at the end of each growing season for adjustment as the trunk thickens.  Non proprietary materials such as baler twine will cut into the bark and should not be used.

Protection from Animal Damage

Rabbits, deer, sheep, cattle and horses can all potentially damage trees.  Ask us for advice on the most appropriate guards for your trees or hedge.  Squirrels are also a terrible pest when trees get to about 20ft tall but there is no protection available.


By Mel Montgomery on 22/05/2015

Would it be possible to keep this in a large pot rather than in the ground to restrict its growth?

M Montgomery

By Simon on 05/06/2015


I am afraid that as a big tree it really doesn’t like being kept in a container.

Kind regards,


By Gillian Darley on 22/06/2016

I have had one in a pot for possibly 20 years. It gets no bigger, it seems perfectly happy, and it is just the size I want without being bonsai-ed!

By Simon on 24/06/2016

Hello Gillian,

That’s interesting to hear. It is possible to keep trees in containers for many years if watered and fed. However, I wonder if the roots have tried to grow out of the pot? Once the roots start to circle round and the tree becomes potbound, growth is stunted and the tree will usually not live as long as it would in the ground. In the nursery we use airpots for our largest specimens, so that the roots ‘air prune’ themselves when they reach the edge, rather than circle round. Airpots encourage a good, fibrous root system so the tree can thrive once planted in the ground. If you are going to keep a tree in a pot for a long time, it is worth potting on to increasingly large containers to avoid the roots becoming potbound.

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