Friday, October 7, 2011

Empress Tree (Paulownia tomentosa) at 2 Months

The Empress Tree has a reputation for growing extremely quickly.  That being said I was a little disappointed with the growth rate of the seedlings.  They germinated within less than a week but were quite delicate and took their time developing.  At just over a month the growth rate started to pick up.  Within the last two weeks they have doubled in size!  I kept one seedling that was putting out 3 leaves at a time instead of the usual two.  Unfortunately, it seems to have reverted to the standard from though.

Although the Empress Tree should be hardy here, I decided to only leave a few outside and move these ones into the greenhouse for the summer.  They've been growing so well that I thought it might be time to transplant already.  When I checked, there were no roots growing out of the bottom of the pot.  It seems that at least as seedlings they have a much smaller roots system then expected.

I should mention that these trees become invasive in warmer climates.  This can be controlled by cutting them down every year.  Unfortunately this mean you won't be able to enjoy the lovely purple flowers.  I'll probably leave some trees to grow large and cut others down each year.  The new growth has very large leaves which can add some dramatic foliage to a garden.


  1. I hope it works out. This year I was experimenting on succulents and they are tricky little buggers. Hopefully they will do well in their new location.

  2. It will certainly be demure compared to what it does in our climate.

  3. I kept my seedlings in a cool greenhouse over their first winter,and out of three healthy seedlings, only one made it through the second winter, but it's now it's at least 15 feet tall, and had buds this spring-love this tree!(Kansas City, zone 5b..unusual here, not down south!!

  4. @Rohrerbot, So do it, it's a great tree and won't be invasive here. I love succulents. I took a bit of a break from them and somehow didn't order any succulent seeds to start this winter. I have my eye on some Mesembs (and related) for next year.

    @CompostInMyShow, That's for sure!

    @BrianDavidMorley, I'm glad to here that. I'm zone 6a/b so hopefully mine are alright. I don't expect them all to survive, just a few. I've only seen one other property with a Paulownia here and it's a garden centre.

  5. Paulownia always reminds me of the apprenticeship contest a couple of years ago - the three best apprentice horticulturists of my state (one of them me), and a teacher, all staring in complete bafflement at a little tree with the gigantic leaves growing out of the crack between the pavement and a building - none of us knew what it was! Really quite embarrassing.

  6. @Ivynettle, clearly some plants can stump the best of us!


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