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  • Paulownia tomentosa Tree
  • Paulownia tomentosa Tree
Carefully Packaged UK Grown Trees

Paulownia tomentosa Tree

Empress or Princess Trees

from From £54.99 (ex. VAT)
( £65.99 (ex. VAT) inc. VAT)

This unusual and striking ornamental tree makes an interesting specimen. Paulownia Tomentosa produces very large (huge actually!), heart-shaped leaves in opposite pairs with fine hairs all over. The foliage emerges light green before turning to mid-green and then golden-brown in the autumn. One of the most appealing features of this rounded tree are its amazing flowers, which stand up like foxgloves, all over the bare branches in early spring. These pale lilac flowers look stunning, like a lilac mist from afar, and are pleasantly scented.

This beautiful tree will grow to 5 x 5 metres in 20 years and will grow in most sunny positions and in dappled shade, choose a sheltered position with well-drained soil for the best results, but Paulownia Tomentosa is tolerant of all soil types. Paulownia takes well to being pollarded (or coppiced), cutting them down to ground level in February.  They will re-grow within one season so that by late-summer it will be 5m tall again (which is actually quite a miraculous thing to watch) with leaves of up to 30 inches across.

In addition to attractive foliage and remarkable flowers, the Foxglove Tree produces curious seed pods that are 3-4cm long and hang in clusters, adding even more interest to this attractive tree. Paulownia Tomentosa was given its name - Paulownia - in honour of the Grand Duchess Anna Pavlovna of Russia, also referred to as Anna Paulowna. Steeped in history, Paulownia Tomentosa is traditionally planted in China when a baby girl is born and then cut down when she is eligible for marriage to carve into wooden objects for her dowry; Paulownia wood carving is a fine art form in Japan and China. It is also legend that the Phoenix will only land on the branches of the Empress Tree.

Due to the size of leaves, please expect some leaf damage on deliveries made when the tree is in leaf - it is impossible to pack a tree like Paulownia without causing some damage - just remove any damaged leaves on arrival with sharp secateurs and new leaves will grow in no time at all.

AKA Empress tree, Foxglove tree, Princess Tree, Paulownia Tree,

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Variety Root Type Height Now Form ? Price Qty Basket
Paulownia tomentosa Tree Paulownia tomentosa Tree
12L pot 120-150cm Pruned & Shaped Tree £54.99 (ex. VAT) New batch ready Summer 2017
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Delivery Timescales

Most deliveries are made within a week of placing the order. Many are despatched within 24 hours of receiving the order, but please allow up to 10 working days to be on the safe side. There is a slightly longer timescale on pleached trees or trees over 2.5m in height (all trees called Standard, Premium Standard, Heavy Standard, Extra Heavy Standard, Mature Trees or Pleached) because we have to group orders together into geographic areas for a specialist haulage contractor to deliver and this takes a bit of scheduling.

Gift trees and other trees required for arrival on a specific date can be accommodated with pleasure and at no extra charge. Although we really don't like to give ourselves wriggle room (because we so rarely need it!), we do have to say that we accept no legal responsibility for late deliveries.

The vast majority of trees are sent on a 'no signature required' basis, so there's no need to be in to receive your order. You can give us instructions on where to leave your delivery either via the checkout or send us a separate email. For some mature or pleached trees we may contact you in advance if the delivery driver needs help getting the tree/trees off the vehicle.

All trees are packed very carefully by our experienced team and delivered using couriers who've been tried and tested over many years.

Our nursery is a busy despatch centre and therefore customers need to make an appointment to collect or view trees.  For collections, despatch charges will be refunded.

Delivery Costs

Smaller trees/bushes have a delivery charge of £7.95 plus vat (excluding Highlands and Islands). Medium trees of a height of 1.5-2 metres have a delivery charge of £9.95 plus vat (excluding Highlands and Islands). Orders for multiple trees have a single delivery cost of £12.95 plus vat (excluding Highlands and Islands).

Mature trees and pleached trees are more expensive to deliver. Cost varies by postcode and is calculated in the check out process. You can buy more than one tree for the same delivery cost, so if you are purchasing a good number of trees it works out to be economical.

Highlands and Islands charges start from £29.95 plus vat and are calculated in the check out process.

Northern Ireland, Channel Islands and Overseas Destinations

Our courier charges are not viable for just one or two trees, but if you have a larger requirement then please do speak to us and we'll see if we can find a solution.

Planting Advice for Paulownia Tomentosa trees

When planting Empress trees, it is important to prepare the planting area well. Pot grown trees can be planted at any time of the year. You will need to carry out the following to prepare your planting site.

Firstly, remove all weeds and grass within a metre of your desired planting hole then dig a hole as deep as your root mass and approximately 2x as wide. We recommend digging a square hole as this encourages the roots to grow straight as opposed to around, inside the hole. To help your tree establish more effectively, we advise applying root grow (sprinkle in the hole for pot grown trees), especially if you have poor soil. Gently loosen the roots and place into the planting hole.

If your soil is poor, mix 50% of the original soil with 50% high quality compost, fill in the hole and firm around gently. Make sure not to bank the soil up around the collar of the tree as this can cause problems.

We recommend planting any ornamental tree with a stake and tie, to see how to use a tree stake and tie, watch our informational how to videos.

Aftercare Advice for Empress trees

If you’re planting in dry weather, water well and regularly for the first few months. The same goes for spring and summer planting. Make sure to keep an eye on your young tree and increase watering if there are extended periods of hot or dry weather. If you’re planting in autumn, you may only need to water your tree a little. We also stock a range of irrigation kits, suitable for a variety of planting schemes.


Once planted, it is important to keep the area free of competing weeds and grass for the first couple of growing seasons. Using a glyphosate based weed killer or installing mulch matting and bark chips will aid in this. Do not simply mow the grass around the area as this will only encourage it to grow more vigorously. If you know your area is prone to rabbits, we would advise using a rabbit guard.

Pruning Advice for Paulownia Tomentosa trees

Foxglove trees do not require regular pruning. If you wish to tidy up your Princess tree, do this during the dormant season. Focus on removing any damaged, diseased or overcrowded branches. If you require a clear trunk, remove any side shoots to help raise the crown.

Paulownia tomentosa Tree (Empress or Princess Trees) Description

  • Common name: Empress Tree or Princess Tree
  • Height and spread in 20 years: 5 x 5 metres
  • Seasons of interest: Spring, Summer
  • Foliage: Lilac flowers displayed on bare branches in early spring, very large, heart-shaped green leaves in summer, turning golden brown in autumn
  • Soil: Suited to well-drained sites and tolerant of most soil types