The Q&A Archives: Paulownia Tree

Question: Can you tell me anything about a Paulownia Tree.
What is good and bad?

Answer: Paulownia tomentosa or Princess Tree is fast growing to about 40 feet tall and wide. It is considered winter hardy into USDA zone 5. Based on your zip code you are gardening in zone 5A or the coldest part of zone 5. Depending on your microclimate, it could actually be as cold as zone 4. For this reason, there is a chance you would lose the flower buds each winter due to excessive cold when temperatures drop below zero. It also tends to be weak wooded and can break apart in snow and ice storms. It is most commonly grown for paper and similar commercial uses rather than as an ornamental, but the purple flowers are very attractive. In some areas it has seeded itself and become naturalized and that can be considered a problem. Some gardeners prune it back very hard every year to keep it smaller and to force it to produce oversized foliage. This treatment prevents it from flowering and also prevents it from seeding itself about. You might check with your local county extension to see if it is considered winter hardy in your local area and if so, whether or not it seeds itself in your local area.

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