Empress Tree

Paulownia elongata

Family: Scrophulariaceae (skrof-yoo-larr-ee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Paulownia (pa-LOH-nee-a) (Info)
Species: elongata (ee-long-GAH-tuh) (Info)



Foliage Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are fragrant

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round


over 40 ft. (12 m)


over 40 ft. (12 m)


USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Bloom Color:


Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer


Grown for foliage



Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From semi-hardwood cuttings

From hardwood cuttings

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

By air layering

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Paradise, California

Gainesville, Florida

Orange Park, Florida

Panama City Beach, Florida

Yulee, Florida

Douglasville, Georgia

Bolivar, Missouri

Saint Robert, Missouri

Las Vegas, Nevada

Conneaut, Ohio

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Red Oak, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 9, 2015, loomis from Las Vegas, NV (Zone 9a) wrote:

Last year (2014) I ordered from an online retailer a few Paulownia Elongata and Paulownia Tomentosa seedlings. The 3 Elongata plants that I purchased all took off like a rocket and now are almost 20 feet tall. The Tomentosa seedlings struggled and have barely grown a foot and eventually I removed them. The one I have in my yard is in full sun 8+ hours and has handled 110+ plus temps just fine in Las Vegas.


On May 1, 2014, orchidguys from Lakeland, FL wrote:

My neighbor and I have struggled with these trees since we purchased them online a few years ago. We split the order between us after reading that they were suitable for zone 9b. We are located in Lakeland Florida. But the trees we have (4 total) have yet to thrive. They seem to be somewhat happy early in the spring, but then start to look bad by early summer, and stay very sickly the remainder of the year. They were shipped from Missouri. Maybe that's part of the problem. The jacaranda in my yard looks great, so maybe if these princess trees don't do any better this year I will plant some more jacarandas instead.


On Mar 19, 2013, alfu from Gainesville, FL wrote:

My experience with this tree has been varied. In a mail order of ten 12" seedlings, 3 died quite young, and one died at a height of 6 feet (I don't think they like nitrogen fertilizer). However, the most virorous specimen grew rapidly. Cut down to the ground in its both its first two winters, it reached over 20 feet the second season (see photo). I am now propagating this tree and have some saplings to share.

This is an amazing tree if you want quick shade or to restore damaged land, but I have had no luck growing it from seed. You can read elsewhere about its livestock feeding, honey producing and lumber providing attributes.


On Sep 5, 2012, rhondagl from Orange Park, FL wrote:

We purchased two of these trees from a well known online plant seller. They arrived in a long box-- such as a long stem rose box/ Just two sticks basicallly. At first we thought we were ripped off. We went ahead and gave them a chance planted them in two dixie cups... in good bagged planting soil and followed the directions of the company we bought them from. Sure enough, they started to grow.... and grow... we switched them out to a small pot, then the next month they needed a larger pot... until we had them in the largest planter pot we could barely pick up. Then we knew it was time to get them in the ground. That was nearly 5 yrs ago. These two trees are almost 35 ft tall now. We lost a hickory tree that provided a ton of shade on the SW side of our house. We searched online... read more


On May 12, 2012, monicaandkenadi from Bolivar, MO wrote:

I planted this tree 3 years ago and have just learned that I should have cut it back the first year. Can anyone tell me if it is to late to do that and when should I cut it back?


On Jun 6, 2011, rplb from Warrenton, MO wrote:

I bought one of these trees from an on-line company and it was pretty much one twig in a little bit of dirt. I think I got it 2 years ago now and I don't think it's growing like they said it would. It's just a little taller than me and I'm about 5' 6". I have not seen any Lavender blooms on it either like they said. By all means it has grown a bit since I got it but not a ton like they all say they do...What's up?


On Nov 27, 2010, Saradhvaja from Paradise, CA wrote:

I have three of these trees that are now two seasons old. They are all over twenty feet tall. The largest one is more than 16 inches circumference. Really amazing fast growing trees. Btw i live at an altitude of 2300 feet.


On Sep 6, 2010, navy1lf from New Port Richey, FL wrote:

I have (2) 5' foot (2 yrs old) Empress trees that I bought as small shoots. They are not growing like they are rumored to be able to and seem to seriously struggle. We are in Zone 9 (W.Central Florida - very near the Gulf). Trying in vain to find help figuring out what to do for them.


On Oct 2, 2009, mswestover from Yulee, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I bought two of them on ebay in Sept 08. Coppiced both in spring of 09. One has now grown to about twenty feet with blooms. The other has stopped growing at six feet; I will coppice it again in the spring of 2010 and see what happens. Both planted in full sun where I needed shade.


On Aug 25, 2009, plutodrive from Denver, CO (Zone 5b) wrote:

This tree can be cut to ground level annually to keep the large and ornamental leaf size, otherwise it will quickly grow into a large tree.


On Sep 3, 2008, philotea from Philadelphia, PA wrote:

These volunteer very readily in abandoned lots in Philadelphia, either sun or part shade. They're rather nice looking and you certainly don't need to do anything at all to encourage them here, but they can be devastaging to building foundations.


On Nov 2, 2007, Tir_Na_Nog from Houston,
United States (Zone 9b) wrote:

The characteristics of this tree were described to me as, "fast growing bad tree... Empress Trees will drop limbs, leaves,and major hunks at all times... they are short lived too.. 20 years at best here in TX."