Foxglove tree, princess tree, empress tree
Paulownia tomentosa, also known as the Empress Tree or Princess Tree, is an enchanting deciduous tree celebrated for its stunning aesthetics and rapid growth. Originating in East Asia, particularly China, this tree has gained global popularity. It showcases large, heart-shaped leaves, often spanning up to 30 centimetres in width, providing ample summer shade. Come spring, it graces us with magnificent, lavender to purple, trumpet-shaped flowers that cluster in erect panicles, creating a breath-taking display.
The Empress Tree is famed for its impressive growth rate, often reaching 3 to 6 meters in a single year. Its wood is prized for timber, and its ecological advantages, such as soil improvement and carbon sequestration, make it a preferred choice for sustainable landscaping and agroforestry initiatives. In exotic planting schemes, this tree is often coppiced in early spring which results in enormous leaves up to 1+m wide!
This tree’s blend of visual allure and environmental benefits cements its position as a cherished addition to gardens and landscapes globally.
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Care & Size Guidance
Caring for Paulownia tomentosa, the Empress Tree, requires attention to its unique growth patterns and environmental preferences. This rapid-growing deciduous tree thrives in well-draining, slightly acidic to neutral soil with good aeration. It thrives in full sun exposure and benefits from ample space for its expansive canopy. Adequate watering is essential, especially during the initial stages of growth, but it should not be overwatered, as it dislikes standing water. Pruning and thinning branches in late winter or early spring helps maintain its shape and control its growth. Regular fertilisation, especially with organic matter, supports its vigour. By providing the Empress Tree with these care essentials, it will flourish and reward with its impressive growth rate, striking lavender to purple flowers, and overall beauty.