(November) I purchased a Royal Paulownia tree out of the newspaper five or six years ago. It is a big, pretty tree. My problem is that for the last three years, it has put on what I thought were flower buds, but they have never had any flowers. The buds are just dry by the end of the year. Do I have a tree that is just not going to bloom, or is there something I need to do?
Royal Paulownia- Paulownia tomentosa, is a really fast growing tree. If you started off with a young seedling, it may simply not be old enough to flower. They bloom in the spring, from flower buds set the fall before. The flower buds should be visible now-round, pubescent (fuzzy) buds in clusters on the tips of the branches. Further north, the flower buds can be winter damaged. They have beautiful purple, fragrant blossoms. Note, that each flower is capable of setting copious amounts of seed. The woody seed capsule open in the fall, and often persist on the tree. Because of its rapid rate of growth, and free seeding habit, there are many who look at these trees as weeds in the landscape. I probably get more leaf samples of this tree than any other. They often sprout in the most unlikely places-rooftops, gutters, etc. The juvenile stage can produce gigantic leaves-larger than an elephant ear. I would simply be patient. As long as the tree is getting sunlight and growing, it should eventually slow down enough to bloom.
I hope you can identify the tree, or bush, in the photos I’m sending and tell us how to get rid of it. It’s a nuisance. I cut it down once and it came back stronger than ever, so I’m afraid to cut it down again. The leaves are fifteen inches long and fifteen inches wide.
The tree in question is a Royal Paulownia, or Empress tree -- Paulownia tomentosa. It produces a purple flower in the spring, followed by a woody capsule. These capsules open in the fall and the seeds are dispersed. They germinate quite readily and grow rapidly -- a Jack-in-the-beanstalk tree. While young, the leaves can be huge, easily the size of a real elephants ear. As they mature the growth slows down, and the leaf size is reduced. Because of their rapid growth, they are not a particularly long-lived tree. To eradicate it, cut it down and continually cut off the new sprouts. Eventually it will use up all of its stored energy. Or you can spray the sprouts with a glyphosate product when they emerge. We receive hundreds of calls about these trees every year. I have even seen sprouts on the tops of buildings.
I am enclosing a picture of a plant that grows here in Hot Springs Village. I have searched through every book I have and have not been able to find it. I hope you can help me identify it. It has no flowers or fruit that I have been able to find. However, new plants spring up in the same area, but not from its roots. Can you also tell me how it reproduces? As you can see from the photograph, the leaves are huge, sometimes 16 inches across. The plant grows quickly, and freezes back in the winter.
The plant in question is a Royal Paulownia or Empress tree-- Paulownia tomentosa. As a mature tree, it produces a purple flower in the spring, followed by a woody capsule. These capsules open in the fall and the seeds are dispersed. They germinate quite readily and grow rapidly -- a Jack-in-the-beanstalk tree. While young, the leaves can be huge, easily the size of a real elephants ear. As they mature the growth slows down, and the leaf size is reduced. I would imagine that there are several mature specimens somewhere in the village and the seeds are dispersing. They shouldn’t freeze back to the ground, but they will lose their leaves.
We have this tree, or perhaps shrub, growing near a trailer on our property. To our knowledge, it has not bloomed until this year. We have no idea what it is called, and would appreciate if you could tell us what it is and something about it.
The tree in question is a royal paulownia tree, Paulownia tomentosa, also called empress tree. It is a very fast growing tree with pubescent (fuzzy) foliage. The flowers appear before the foliage is completely on the tree. They are tubular in blue to purple clusters. After flowering, there will be a woody capsule formed, which will open in the fall to early winter. They germinate readily from seed, and when juvenile, can produce enormous leaves. Because of their rapid growth rate, they are not particularly long-lived, but they are pretty in bloom.
In Hot Springs, a friend and I have seen a tree that is called the Empire or Empress. It forms a cluster of brown pellets or seeds, about a quarter in size, also a purple or blue flower. Since the tree is off the road, we have not had a chance to stop and get a good look, but the leaves appear to be larger than the Oak. Can you tell me something about it, its natural location? would it be hard to grow?, if one could be found in a nursery?
The tree is called a Royal Paulownia or Empress tree--Paulownia tomentosa. It is very easy to grow, and readily grows from seed. It is not considered a long-lasting tree. It grows very rapidly and tends to have weak wood. It does have large clusters of purple flowers in the spring, followed by the woody seed capsules in the fall. Wherever there is a fruiting tree, there are numerous seedlings coming up around it. Or gather some seeds and sow them outdoors.
Do the many tiny seeds of Empress tree (Paulownia tomentosa, I think) require special conditions for germination?
Empress tree seeds germinate extremely easily. The seeds exhibit no dormancy, but light is necessary for germination. Fresh seed has a germination capacity of 90% and can come up in 19 days. Seeds have been known to sprout all over the place on their own--I’ve even seen sprouts on rooftops. They typically grow very fast, with giant leaves when young.
For years I have been trying to find a "Princess Tree", to no avail. I have tried numerous nurseries, but none seem to have one. Can you tell me where I can find one?
Princess trees, or Royal Paulownia, Paulownia tomentosa is not considered a great shade tree. Rarely will a nursery sell them, but all you need to do is find one growing either in the wild, or in someone's yard, and harvest some seeds. Princess trees grow rapidly from seeds. County Extension offices get samples of leaves every year. When young, Princess trees can form gigantic leaves, the trees sprout up in unusual places. Because they grow rapidly, they tend to be fairly weak, and therefore short-lived. They have pretty purple flowers in the spring, followed by woody capsules that open and send forth the seeds in the fall.
I have just purchased some empress trees. I was just wondering if you knew anything about them.. What is their life span, how tall will they get? Do they grow well in Arkansas? It is a beautiful tree, and has small purple flowers. My friends tree has pods on it, but there are no seeds in it. Any information you have would be appreciated.
Empress trees are also known as Royal Paulownia or Princess trees, Paulownia tomentosa. They can grow quite large, but they are prone to breakage, since they grow rapidly and the wood is brittle. They can grow 30 to 40 feet tall. Some people consider them trash trees, since they drop leaves and branches at random. They do have beautiful purple flowers in the spring, and woody seed capsules open and disperse seeds in the fall, which can come up all over. You will find them all over the state, since where there is one, there usually ends up quite a few.
We were recently given several seeds said to be from a Chinese Empress Tree growing in this area.. Will you please tell us something about this tree and how to plant the seeds? Thanks. (Mountain Home)
Chinese Empress tree is also known as the royal Paulownia tree or Princess tree--Paulownia tomentosa. It is a very fast growing tree, with huge leaves in its juvenile stages. It has pretty purple flowers in the spring which are followed with woody seed capsules, which disperse seed. The seeds come up readily wherever dropped. Young trees have been known to grow ten feet or more in their first season. However, it is a brittle wood, and usually not a long lived tree in the landscape. The seeds benefit from having light, so pot them on top of the potting soil and place the pots in a plastic bag to increase humidity. You will probably see sprouts within two weeks.
I visited with a man over near Searcy a few years ago because about two weeks after all the wisteria along the side of the highway had quit blooming, a tree in his yard was still magnificent. When he showed me the reason, I was amazed at what he had done. The tree in his yard was about 40 feet tall, and all up the tree was a wisteria vine he had nurtured for years, and it was not wrapped on the tree, but hung by ropes. He said he had planted the vine and the tree both when he was a young boy, and they had grown up together. The tree was what was blooming right after the wisteria, and he told me it was a male catalpa tree that he had dug up in the woods when it was in bloom. The blooms look very similar to a lilac and after they bloom, they leave a seed pod hanging which is a series of "balls" clustered together. I have only seen a few of these trees, and would like to know what they are, as I would like to have one. Can you help?
Actually, I don't think it is a male catalpa tree, but a Royal Paulownia tree--Paulownia tomentosa. This tree has large, almost heart shaped leaves, and clusters of purple flowers in the spring. The woody seed capsules are in clusters and open in late summer to early fall. It is a fast growing tree that tends to have fairly weak wood, and can become a nuisance with seedlings. But it does have attractive flowers.
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