Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

The Plant Guide

Browse the Full Plant Guide

Empress tree

Paulownia tomentosa

pawl-OH-nee-ah toe-men-TOE-sah Audio

This deciduous tree has thick shoots and large, lobed, bright green leaves. Fragrant pinkish lilac flowers appear in late spring with the foliage. When grown as a perennial, its robust shoots become sturdy stems 2 inches in diameter, with mammoth leaves as much as 2 feet across. Paulownia tomentosa can grow to 12 feet tall in a single season.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsThis native of China is naturalized in the eastern U.S. Grown as a large shade tree in milder parts of the country, it can be grown as a perennial, cutting it to the ground each spring. It tolerates polluted and poor soils.

CareGrow in fertile, well-drained soil and full sun. Flowers best in climates with long, hot summers.

PropagationFrom root cuttings in winter.

ProblemsCanker, dieback, powdery mildew, wood rot, and mushroom rot.

  • Genus : Paulownia
  • Plant Height : 10 to 15 feet
  • Plant Width : 3 to 6 feet
  • Zones : 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
  • Tolerance : Drought Tolerant
  • Moisture : Dry to Medium
  • Growth Rate : Fast
  • Light : Full Sun
  • Flower Color : Pink
  • Characteristics : Showy Foliage
  • Bloom Time : Spring
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Spring Interest
  • Plant Type : Trees

Related Plants

Related Articles

More From the Plant Guide

Winter Interest

Partial Shade

Browse the Full Plant Guide

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, become a member today.

Get complete site access to decades of expert advice, regional content, and more, plus the print magazine.

Start your FREE trial