The Q&A Archives: Royal Paulowina

Question: I am wondering what the negative aspects of the Paulowina tree are. I received a flyer in the mail to order these trees at a very low price. We just moved in to a new home with no trees in sight. We are wanting fast growing trees, but don't want to get something that will be a problem to our landscaping. What do you know about this tree and do you know of any good trees that grow very fast. We are not concerned about the life length of the tree. We do intend to plant some slow growers also. Thank you for your help.

Answer: Paulownia tomentosa, the Empress Tree, will flower in your area and should not need winter protection. It's a fast-growing tree to 40' or 50', but don't expect the 10' of growth per year that's sometimes advertised! A more realistic expectation is 2'-3' per year. Empress trees grow best in full sunshine, with summer irrigation. They are not picky about soil and usually do not need feeding. The trees will cast very heavy shade, and have lots of surface roots, so place your tree where it can grow without compromise, and don't plan to garden directly under it. Your trees will flower 5-7 years after they're planted.

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