Emperor Flowering Tree

The Paulownia Tree has a lot to offer, whether the grower is a serious investor or a hobby farmer. Paulownia products include:

  • especially formulated Organic Fertiliser
  • honey made from Paulownia flowers
  • Paulownia timber and timber products
  • Paulownia root-stock and seedlings
  • Paulownia plantations in Australia.

The Paulownia tree is very fast growing and produces good quality timber in a very short period of time. Here is some helpful, well-researched information for you about this wonderful tree.

Paulownia Tree Growing Requirements

Not enough has been said about growing these plants successfully. If the Paulownia is being grown for timber, it is essential to grow straight long ‘Poles’ in the first growing season. Deep rip the area chosen for the plot, and then rotary hoe it.

The use of raised beds is optional. The main advantage of raised beds is improved drainage, increased soil depth and warming of soil in early spring.

Growers who have dry, well-drained soil in a warm area prefer not to use raised beds. Simply plant directly into the plot.

Plant young Paulownia no less than 1 metre apart in straight rows. The ideal time for planting is after the last frost in October-November.

Just before planting, all trays should be saturated with water. Water is critically important in getting plants up and growing. The easiest way to water plants is through an irrigation system. A product called T-tape is readily available in shops, is easy to set up and very cheap to buy.

Plants need constant attention with watering. They prefer once a day for the first few weeks. Large soaking is generally better for the growth of the plant than short frequent watering.

When establishing your own nursery site, it is important to have well-draining soil and plenty of sunlight. Additionally, Paulownia like to grow in a sheltered area protected from the strong winds.

Fertilising Paulownia

Young Paulownia tree plantation

Fertilising the young plants has been one of the least publicised issues, in the past, for many growers. The first years take off is very important. If you fail to get tall straight first year poles, I would suggest you have a good look at the way you fertilised your trees.

From the very beginning in the summer months when young poles are growing rapidly, their food intake is enormous. I have experimented with all sorts of fertiliser in the past and I got so confused and frustrated that I had to look for help.

I found an American Doctor who was willing to experiment with a Paulownia Plant fertiliser and came up with some great results. After many tests I am proud to announce that it works, and works well.

Australian Trees and Plantations is the sole supplier of the one and only, especially made, Fertiliser for Paulownias. It is an all-organic liquid mix, especially designed to give maximum growth for Paulownias.

It is in liquid form and this enables it to be mixed easily with water. If you only have a few plants you can water the trees with a watering can or you can put fertiliser through your irrigation system and the job is done in no time at all.

By doing this very simple program of fertilising twice a month during the growing season you will find your trees will have healthy, lush, deep green leaves throughout the entire growing season and also a strong root system. Using Complete Paulownia Fertiliser it is not uncommon to have Paulownia growing up to 2 feet a week, given the right growing conditions. 

Complete Paulownia Fertiliser is a combination of nitrogen, phosphorous, Potash, Trace Minerals, Biological Enzymes and Natural Growth Regulators. Apply to the root zone of each tree diluted in water or injected in tree irrigation systems.

Complete Paulownia Fertiliser comes in 20 litre containers which are very easy to handle and transport anywhere in the world. It is very cheap and simple to use so contact us and we will organise Complete Organic Paulownia Fertiliser for you to try out.


Weeding can become a full time job depending on the size of the nursery. Constant attention should be made to weeding the plants. If not weeded regularly, weeds can become a big problem.

Keep the plot weed free through hoeing or hand weeding. Some growers use Round Up for killing weeds around young plants. I do not. However, you will be relieved to know that the water and fertiliser requirements of Paulownia in subsequent years will not be as high as the first year.

Controlling Pests

In spring and early summer, there are bugs that attack Paulownias, the main one being caterpillars. They attack young soft leaves and can damage young plants severely if they get to the very top of the young plant. This will cause deformation of the plant.

Spray against them with Carbaryl Liquid Insecticide or similar. You can help spray to stick on more effectively by mixing it up with water and very small amount of dishwashing liquid.

When growing plants for the purpose of timber, a straight trunk is achieved by pinching out lateral branches as they emerge. Care must be taken not to remove large leaves.

By understanding these few important steps correctly, there is nothing stopping you from growing tall straight Pole’s of which you can justly feel proud. Obviously, the more effort you put into it in your first year, the better results you will achieve in years to come.

Pole Planting

In winter, all Paulownlia’s Trees lose their leaves and become dormant. This is the time for transplanting your Poles into the permanent site. Whether you dig up your plants by hand or machine, try to preserve as much of the root system as possible.

Remove the soil clinging to and between the root system until   they are exposed. Trim the roots and get rid of all the broken parts of   the root system.

It is important again that the permanent site is well draining and   the water table is below 1.5M. Deep rip well the rows you are planting, because the looser the ground, the better the growth.

When growing Paulownlias for the timber, trees can be planted in many different spacings. Basically, the more sunlight Paulownia gets, the better. I have seen Paulownias growing from 60 trees per acre to 200 trees per acre. I myself,  grow them in rows of 6M by 4M. If trees are grown for shade or fodder, trees should be grown at least 8 to 10M apart to ensure a large canopy for maximum leaf drop.

Watering and fertilising is important again during spring and summer, but not as frequently as first year. I use T-tape for irrigation and use it on both sides of the tree. During summer in high rainfall areas, there is no need for irrigation at all, unless it is used for liquid fertilising. By implementing these simple  methods correctly, there is no reason why you should not collect  1 cubic metre of millable timber per tree in 8-1 0 years.

I have written these few words to provide the potential grower   with some background about Paulownia Tree growing, and assist you to get your first trees up,  growing and off to a robust start.

Wishing you very happy Paulownia growing.

History of Paulownia Tree

Paulownia tree is native to China. According to both legends and records, dating back 2600 years, people in ancient times used Paulownia Trees for various purposes. In the work Zhung Tze, it is recorded  “Phoenix flew from the south sea to the north sea without perching on trees other than Paulownia and without eating anything but bamboo fruit”.

The Chinese have been planting Paulownia Trees for many centuries around their dwellings in order to bring good luck and to attract the Phoenix.  

At present in China, intercropping with Paulownia is being carried out on some 1,300,000 hectares of land throughout the whole country. 

Some other countries have also established forestry research institutes and experimental stations to conduct research on Paulownia Trees. In Australia, almost all the research has been carried out by a few individuals. 

In real terms, the Paulownia Tree is really the tree of the future. It is still in the infancy stage of its development here in Australia. Interest has been slowly developing since the late 80’s. The 90’s has seen more people interested in growing these trees, mainly because of its unique growth rate.

Facts About the Paulownia Tree

Firstly, I would like to mention that I have experienced tremendous satisfaction in growing Paulownia Trees.

The more you look after them, the more they thrive and grow. It is fascinating to observe a young Paulownia seedling grow into a tall ‘pole’ in just a few short months. 

In the summer months, given good growing conditions, the plant can reach up to 6 metres or 20 feet  high and sometimes higher, depending on the Paulownia Tree species used. It is a known fact, that the tree can reach its fully mature stage in just 8-10 years and can produce up to 1 cubic metre of timber in that time.

Paulownia is light in weight and colour, yet it is strong, dries easily, has a beautiful grain, does not warp, crack or deform easily. The wood is easy to work with and suitable for the 
manufacture of furniture, plywood, moldings, doors and many other uses.

The leaves and flowers are rich in nitrogen and therefore serve as good fertiliser and fodder. The flowers are colourful and beautiful in spring and the trees are green and shady in summer. Paulownia species are therefore very suitable for beautifying and enriching the environment. They are also equally suitable for landscaping of urban and industrial areas.

Paulownias can adapt to a wide range of temperatures. All species in Australia are known to withstand temperatures of -10o to +40o centigrade.

Making Honey

Your Paulownia Tree has got many uses. Making honey is just one!

After dormancy, all Paulownia trees come to life. It is exciting to see new big, green leaves and beautiful flowers spring to life.

Mature Paulownia tree has thousands of petal shaped flowers. Different species vary in colour of flower. Note the spectacles to give you some idea of the size of petals.

My favourite, colour: Your whole plantation will come alive to the wonderful colours exploding around you.

Paulownia honey is sweet and light and there is no other honey quite like it. Like in flowers, different species of Paulownia vary the taste of honey.

Spring time, and the air is sweet with the perfume of Paulownia in full blossom. You will enjoy these wonderful blooms for over a month each year and coupled with a few hives around the plantation you will enjoy fresh honey all year round.

Are Paulownia Trees Invasive in Australia?

The original species of Paulownia, including Paulownia tomentosa (also known as the Empress Tree or Princess Tree), can be invasive. The rapid growth rate of individual trees, combined with an ability to regenerate from cuttings and produce numerous seeds, contributes to this status.

However, hybrid Paulownias, which are crosses between different species or varieties of Paulownia, are generally not as fertile as the original species. Due to reduced fertility, their seed production and potential for natural spread is limited.

If you’re keen on growing Paulownias, it’s essential to take responsible action. That means choosing a suitable variety and/or implementing proper management practices to prevent these trees from running amok and causing harm to our beautiful Aussie environment.

15 Comments on Growing Paulownia Trees in Australia

  1. You don’t mention that it has the potential to become invasive and is a huge problem in some areas as it produces millions of seeds.
    How do you mitigate this risk?

  2. Let me tell you that I know little about plants, trees, or anything related to the outdoors. However, I have a great appreciation for the beauty of nature and a desire to learn so this piece on the Paulownia Tree really caught my attention. It seems like it’s high-maintenance but it’s worth it.

  3. We need to highlight the carbon sequestration capacity of paulownia. Mostly by virtue of its fast growth
    I am eager to paulownia the forests of the tropics and play my tiny part in climate change mitigation. Tq very much for the article. Let us start a paulownia revolution. Tq

  4. I have lived in 2 different climates in Victoria, Australia… and have grown Paulownias for about 30 years for decorative and shade purposes..
    I have never had any problems with seeds spreading… in fact, I thought the seeds maybe sterile until I had one tree
    come up quite a distance from the parent tree.
    There has been the odd sucker grow from the roots here and there..I just removed them into pots and gave them away..
    I’ve had no problems with root invasion at all.. and I was devastated when I nearly lost 2 mature trees in drought conditions over a couple of years. I have cut them back very hard, and they are recovering..

    • Hi Glenda or other paulownia growers.
      I’m looking for someone I can purchase green fresh cut paulownia logs from close as possible to Goolwa South Australia. Do you have any suggestions.
      Regards Nick Brauer

      • Hi Nick,

        Just thought of touching base…Someone is asking me to grow Paulownia trees in SA as a trial…near your area. Wonder if this is a good idea and if you are interested in exploring that supply you are talking about.

  5. would they grow well in Perth? Only after a couple for my garden , only for the look and the flowers? they would only get around 2.5 hours of sun a day though?

    • They should grow in Perth if you give them enough water in summer and good drainage (raised bed) in winter. Ideally, Paulownia trees require a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight daily to grow vigorously and produce abundant flowers. With only 2.5 hours of sun exposure, the trees may struggle to reach their full potential and may not develop as well.

      Paulownias do prefer warm and temperate climates, with moderate rainfall. Perth’s hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters, may not be the most favourable conditions. They typically thrive in areas with higher humidity and a more consistent moisture supply.

  6. I grew 5 pawlonia trees back in 2005. After about three years I had to cull 4 of them because of too much shade. ( Dia .5m ). The fith one is now about 1.3m in diameter.
    We had no trouble growing them and are considering growing more as a plantation.

  7. I planted a single seedling in very well prepared fertile soil in Sydney in 2001. It was to provide shade for our home during summer from the western sun.
    No issues at all.
    I would commend it to all.
    Beautiful tree, many happy memories.

  8. I’m interested to know if Paulonia is browse by wallaby or possum and what protection is required against such pests. I am considering a small plantation to grow timber as a boat building alternative. Cheers David

  9. I’m From Horsham Victoria, hot summers and cold winters
    Is this climate good for Paulownia trees as plantation on 2 Hectares

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