Paulownia tomentosa or imperialis (Foxglove tree)
Paulownia tomentosa, the Foxglove tree, produces its fragrant pink-blue foxglove like flowers on mature wood, before it comes into leaf (like Halesia Carolina ) and looks very exotic to British eyes. The trees are startlingly fast growing and have large attractive leaves similar to Catalpa bignonioides, which means they need a sheltered position. If coppiced their leaves are enormous, but they won't flower. The Foxglove tree is very unfussy, growing in a range of soil types and unfazed by pollution in urban situations. Although common across much of Asia where the climate really suits them, Paulownia tomentosa is still pretty rare in the UK. In America it's a nuisance as it quickly spread along railway lines; the seeds were used by Chinese porcelain makers to pack their wares for export in trunks. In Japan a Foxglove tree is traditionally planted at the birth of a girl. Here its wood is highly valued for carving and making kotos, traditional musical instruments. A lovely specimen tree, loved by bumblebees and winner of an RHS AGM.
Soil type: Most fertile well drained soils
Paulownia supplier : R.V.Roger
We supply Foxglove trees as bare root, and they are consequently only available from November to the end of March.
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Time to Ultimate Height
Up to 50 years
Clay, loam, sand, chalk
Neutral, acid, alkaline