Paulownia tomentosa is a deciduous tree and part of the Paulowniaceae family of plants. It is native to western China. They also call it the Princess Tree, Royal Paulownia, Empress Tree, or Foxglove Tree.
The name is in honor of Princess Anna Paulowna (1795-1865), of Russia. Tomentosa refers to soft hairy leaves.
It is a fast-growing tree that grows to 82ft or 25m. The foliage is large, opposite, and heart-shaped. It is slightly hairy above and very hairy underneath. The flowers appear before the leaves, in spring. They are tubular, purple, and very fragrant. The fruit is a capsule and it is egg-shaped. It flowers on old wood. After flowering, it produces winged seeds that are spread by the wind.
How to grow Paulownia tomentosa:
Grow Paulownia tomentosa in the sun. Plant it in any type of soil. It prefers sandy, loamy, and well-drained soil. Paulownia tomentosa tolerates pollution and drought. It survives wildfires as the roots regenerate and it is a rather fast-growing tree. To grow this plant for its leaves you need to prune it hard to the trunk or the ground. New growth produces rather large leaves and no flowers, as flowers grow on old wood. It is generally disease-free and pest-free.