Empress Tree, help please!

southerngal_2006May 27, 2006

A friend and I want to grow this tree--yes, I know it is on the list of noxious weeds and trees, but we have the room and the desire. So, I got a ton of seeds and tried starting them in potting soil. Do you think I should be trying to germ them in topsoil instead? How deep should I plant the seeds? None are coming up for me. I have tried planting them about 1/2 inch down, and I have tried basically just spreading them on the top of the soil, as would happen in the wild. Help would be appreciated.



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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Take the seeds and soak them for 48 hours in a solution one part Clorox to three parts water. Drain and let dry for three to four weeks, full sun is best. Seeds will then be ready to plant under 6 inches of gravel.

NOT! No one here is going to help you grow 'tons' of these invasive trees! Are you serious?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 12:27AM
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"NOT! No one here is going to help you grow 'tons' of these invasive trees! Are you serious?"

Excuuuuuuse me! So sorry I stepped on your sensibilities. Your sarcasm is noted and quite appreciated by this forum newcomer. NOT!

    Bookmark   May 28, 2006 at 9:45AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I'll take my lickin'. I deserve it! And I do apologize (most sincerely) for my unwarranted rudeness.

I guess I was just taken aback by someone who knows of their invasive qualities yet still wants to know how to grow a bunch of them. I'm sure you have your reasons.

There IS an American Paulownia Association...geared for those who are interested in growing this tree for lumber. Perhaps their website has information and/or links that might be of interest to you.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 10:39AM
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Just wanted to put my two cents worth in here if you don't mind.
Two years ago I tried to start a bunch of the Empress tree seeds, and I used the same method as with most seeds, out of maybe 20 seeds I only had one to grow. It had been started in the house in a peat pot in a sunny window, when it got a little larger and spring was here [last year] I moved it out side. It went crazy in no time, so when it was about a foot tall I planted it in the ground. It now stands about 14 feet tall and is a beautiful shade tree.
I am so amazed how fast it has grown, almost unreal.
They say the tree flowers in the spring before it gets it's leaves well, mine didn't flower this spring it just started getting leaves. I have seen these trees growing in mass in the upper part of South Carolina and in bloom they are beautiful!
If you have a big piece of property (BIG PIECE) I don't see what the problem with growing them would be.
And what's wrong with growing trees any way? You know? To me there seems to be a problem with cutting all the trees down, that seems to be all people are interested in any more. Where I live, the log trucks run 24/7 loaded down. And I hate it.
There is no way enough trees could be planted to replace the ones that they are cutting down and that is truly a SAD thing!
I say go for it!!!

    Bookmark   May 31, 2006 at 7:33AM
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We used to have one in our front yard. People called it a "Coffee-wood Tree." They are kind of short lived and the older branches get rotten and fall off and make a mess, but the flowers are real pretty. When they get old and full of holes the birds will use them for nests, so they're good for nature in that respect.
We didn't have them popping up all over the place and I didn't even know they were invasive. It's your yard, grow what you think is pretty!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 1:01PM
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I'm thinking of getting one myself for my backyard in New Orleans. We lost so many trees in Katrina; I can't see how it can hurt anything even if it spreads. Does anyone know how it stands up to wind? I had a gigantic pecan tree that flattened my shed during the hurricane. I'm not looking for something that's likely to blow down.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 12:33PM
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They say it's very prone to breakage--hollow branches--so I don't think that's a good choice. Maybe a sycamore. My Mom has a huge one and here in FL I watched it handle several storms without any major breakage (and they grow quickly.)

Yesterday I planted some empress seeds in big pots just to see what they are going to do. We don't have any around here. I wonder if they are going to come up. Well I'll see.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 9:18AM
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Tulip poplars grow very quickly and yet don't seem to break easily, so that's a thought for you. They have flowers, but to see them you either have to get above the tree or wait for them to fall to the ground. Or maybe if you can stand back from the tree you can see them better than I can with our narrow side yard.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2008 at 7:41PM
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I may not be able to help you with your planting seeds, but for those of you that are speaking of invasive qualities, I have had a wonderful experience with a hybrid species of Empress called the Empress Splendor. It has the amazing growth rate of the Tomentosa but does not share the invasive attributes. I purchased them at www.worldtreetech.com and they have been growing amazing for me ever since. You may want to have a look; it is much easier than seeds!

Let me know if you have anymore questions!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2008 at 2:18PM
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Jimmy Carter- Former President and Commercial Paulownia
Tree Grower


The flowers make a high quality honey
the seeds are very sensitive to fungi
root cuttings are the easiest way to propagate

To me they seem to grow best in zones 6-7
They did not like my deep sand in Tuckahoe.

Here is a link that might be useful: A Beautiful Tree That Shows a Sinister Side

    Bookmark   August 8, 2008 at 10:14PM
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I saw a little clip on how to plant empress trees. They mixed the seed with dry instent mashed patatos, then sprinkeld the mixture on the servace of peatmoss or potting soil, kept them damp in a shaded area, they germanated in just a few days. Even though they got moldy they still germanated.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 7:12AM
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I also Like the Idea of the fast growth of these trees. I wanted to grow for their lumber. I tried growing from seed planted 50 all sprouted came up grew to about an inch tall and them suddenly keeled over and died did as told how to start them and every thing. any one have any idea what could cause this? any advise appreciated. thanks Leroy.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 7:26AM
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Different tree to different methods!

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 3:55AM
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