Medium-sized, decidious, semi-hardy flowering trees. The prolific creamy-purple flowers resemble those of a foxglove. Named after Anna Paulowna, Princess of the Netherlands (1795-1865).

Family: Paulowniaceae
Botanical Name: Paulownia
Common Names: Foxglove tree, princess tree.

Foliage: Deciduous, large, lightly-lobed green leaves.

Blossom: Erect clusters of fragrant lilac-purple flowers, often followed by round, woody fruits. The buds form in the autumn and open the following spring, usually before the leaves appear.

Flowering Period: Late spring.

Soil: Deep, well-drained soil (chalk, clay, sand or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Full sun. Grow in a south, west or east facing aspect, in a sheltered location.

Habit: Bushy.

Type: Tree.

Origin: China, Korea

Hardiness: Mature trees are hardy in the UK.

Planting and Growing Paulownia

Thrives in any good, humus-rich fertile loam, in full sun. Note: newly-planted trees may not bloom for several years. 

The flower buds are often killed by spring frosts, so they should be planted in a sheltered location near to other trees.

Tolerant of atmospheric pollution. Good for coastal regions.

Taking Care of Paulownia

Shelter from strong winds. Protect young trees from frost.

Pruning Paulownia

Not necessary. Can pollarded or pruned to form a shrub, although this will affect flowering.

Pests and Diseases

Generally trouble free.

Propagating Paulownia

Sow seed under glass in autumn. Protect seedlings and young saplings from frost. Mature plants may form suckers where the roots rise above the soil surface. These can be lifted and replanted. 

Popular Varieties of Paulownia

Paulownia tomentosa bears large light-green leaves, 1ft or more across. Erect clusters of fragrant lilac-purple flowers in late spring. Height to 25ft.

Paulownia lilacina is highly floriferous and may be better suited to our English climate.

Paulownia fortunei a less vigorous form with lavender-purple or lavender-white flowers with dark purple spots.