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Paulownia tomentosa (Princess Tree)

Princess Tree, Foxglove Tree, Empress Tree, Royal Empress Tree, Paulownia imperialis

AGM Award
Paulownia tomentosa, Princess Tree, Foxglove Tree, Empress Tree, Royal Empress Tree, Paulownia imperialis, Blue Flowers
Paulownia tomentosa, Princess Tree, Foxglove Tree, Empress Tree, Royal Empress Tree, Paulownia imperialis, Blue Flowers
Paulownia tomentosa, Princess Tree, Foxglove Tree, Empress Tree, Royal Empress Tree, Paulownia imperialis, Blue Flowers

Paulownia tomentosa (Princess Tree) is a broad, medium-sized deciduous tree with an umbrella-shaped crown. Handsome, broadly oval to heart-shaped leaves, 6-12 in. long (15-30 cm), are oppositely arranged along the stems. In spring, a profusion of fragrant, light lilac-purple, foxglove-like flowers appear in showy upright clusters, 8-12 in. (20-30 cm), before the leaves emerge. The floral show is quite spectacular. The bark is smooth and pale yellow-brown with many large lenticels in youth, becoming rough and gray-brown with age. The blossoms give way to egg-shaped fruits, divided into 4 inner compartments that contain the seeds. They persist in clusters on the tree through the winter and split to release up to 2,000 tiny winged, wind-borne seeds. One large tree may produce as many as 20 million seeds a year. Princess Tree can also reproduce from root sprouts. Fast-growing, Paulownia tomentosa is an aggressive tree that invades disturbed natural areas including forests, roadsides, and stream banks. It is proving to be a problem weed in eastern USA. It continues to be promoted, however, in North America and elsewhere, and it is possible that it could prove invasive in Europe where it continues to be introduced and planted.

  • Recipient of the prestigious Award of Garden Merit of the Royal Horticultural Society
  • Grows up to 30-40 ft. tall and wide (9-12 m).
  • Performs best in humus-rich, fertile, dry to moist, well-drained soils in full sun. Tolerates a wide range of soils including poor soils and dry soils. Drought tolerant once established.
  • A beautiful specimen plant in cottage gardens, parks and lawns.
  • No serious pest or disease issues.
  • Brittle branches and large leaves make Princess Tree prone to wind damage and as a result, twigs, seed capsules, and other debris frequently accumulate under the tree canopy
  • Needs very little pruning. Remove diseased, damaged or crossing shoots. Can be pruned very hard in late winter or early spring for best foliage effect.
  • Propagate by seed sown in containers in a cold frame in autumn or spring. Seed germinates best if exposed to light. Seedlings must be protected from frost.
  • Native to China, Korea.
  • Find where this species is invasive in the United States.
  • Discover beautiful U.S. native plant alternatives.

Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 8
Heat Zones 5 - 8
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Paulowniaceae
Common names Foxglove Tree, Empress Tree, Princess Tree, Royal Empress Tree
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Height 30' - 40'
(9.1m - 12.2m)
Spread 30' - 40'
(9.1m - 12.2m)
Maintenance Average
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Plant of Merit, Showy
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage
How Many Plants
Do I Need?
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.
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Requirements

Hardiness 5 - 8
Heat Zones 5 - 8
Climate Zones 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Trees
Plant Family Paulowniaceae
Common names Foxglove Tree, Empress Tree, Princess Tree, Royal Empress Tree
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early, Mid, Late)
Height 30' - 40'
(9.1m - 12.2m)
Spread 30' - 40'
(9.1m - 12.2m)
Maintenance Average
Water Needs Low, Average
Soil Type Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Plant of Merit, Showy
Tolerance Drought, Dry Soil
Garden Uses Beds And Borders
Garden Styles Informal and Cottage
How Many Plants
Do I Need?

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