(Empress tree, Foxglove tree)
(Award of Garden Merit)
Originating from China
Fast growing deciduous tree with large, bright green, heart-shaped leaves and violet flowers in summer. Even on young plants the leaves can grow up to 30cm long and are a rich green, covered in downy hairs. Paulownia matures into a round-topped tree with an open habit and produces perhaps the most beautiful blooms of any flowering tree. As its common name suggests, these are foxglove-like panicles, up to 30cm long of pink/purple-scented flowers. The flowers begin to form the previous autumn, buds remaining dormant through the winter, bursting forth in spring before the leaves emerge. But this is only part of the story. Sometimes Paulownia can be reluctant to flower, taking several years to reach maturity and is subject to the vagaries of our weather - intermittent frosts and mild spells can adversely effect the flower formation. However, as a dramatic foliage plant, it is hard to surpass. By pollarding in spring, the aim of which is to make the leaves as large as possible, your reward will be sensational leaves up to 90cm long. In March, saw the stem back to 4 buds. Once these have started to grow, remove the weaker two.
Grow in moist but well-drained soil in sun/part shade.
(Height and spread depending on pruning).