Paulownia tomentosa is a tall broadleaf deciduous tree that is native to Western and Central China. This tree also popularly known as princess, empress or foxglove tree was named in honour of Princess Anna Paulowna of Russia.

Paulownia tomentosa

Paulownia tomentosa

BUY: Paulownia tomentosa here from UK Sellers

It is a handsome, fast-growing, invasive tree that reaches heights of 30 to 70 feet at maturity.

What is Paulownia Tormentosa?

Paulownia tomentosa has large, wide, heart-shaped green leaves that are situated on both sides of the stem. The edible large leaves are 15-30 cm long and wide and can grow even larger. The large, purple, fragrant flowers grow on long upright panicles that are 10-30 cm long and bloom before the leaves emerge in spring. 

Clusters of tiny, dry fruits that change colour from green to brown as they mature are produced by the tree and these fruits produce millions of seeds that spread easily in wind and water. Its thick, pervasive and pernicious roots can cause damage; thus, the roots and seeds of the Empress tree are considered the most invasive parts of the tree.

Where to buy Paulownia Tormentosa?

Cultivation of Paulownia Tormentosa

Empress trees are quite easy to grow and care for. What you need to be careful about is wind and cold, as it can be easily damaged by cold winds and extreme frost. It is especially tolerant of atmospheric pollution and it is a pioneer species which means that it will be the first plant to grow in very harsh conditions that other plants will not tolerate. Paulownia tomentosa is generally free of pests and diseases.

Its large leaves coupled with its huge size and gorgeous flowers make it an excellent ornamental shade tree that can be planted in gardens and lawns. The dense canopy of leaves and the shade it produces can make it difficult for plants to grow underneath so it has less competition for soil nutrients. It will take water away from nearby plants and will make tilling the ground for the sowing of other plants difficult.

Paulownia Tormentosa soil types and requirements

Empress tree has no preferred soil type and will do well in chalky, loamy, sandy or clay soil of any pH. Although it favours rich, moist soil it can survive in dry soil and is extremely drought resistant.

Light requirements for Paulownia Tormentosa

It requires full sun to bloom fully but can tolerate partial shade, especially if you don’t want it to flower too much.

How often to water Paulownia Tormentosa?

The Empress tree requires constant moisture and should be watered once a week during its growth phase.

How to propagate Paulownia Tormentosa?

Propagation of empress trees is easily done by planting the seeds or by cutting and replanting the suckers of the tree.

Paulownia Tormentosa pruning

Pruning should be done in late winter or early spring. It can be done by cutting off lower branches or by cutting the tree down to a certain height every year to limit its growth.