How to Grow a Paulownia Tree


The paulownia tree is a Chinese native with a rapid growth rate. This fast-growing tree can reach mature heights up to 50 feet with an equal spread. The paulownia, or dragon tree, is a deciduous tree that produces rich green, ovate-shaped foliage with showy lavender blooms. The size and spread of this deciduous tree, also known as the royal paulownia, result in excessive litter around the area. This tree is easily cultivated but the large amount of defoliation should truly be considered before making a commitment.

Step 1

Choose a fertile planting location for your paulownia tree. Make sure that the location provides ample space for the mature-sized tree. Select a deep planting location that receives at least eight hours of full to partially shaded sunlight each day.

Step 2

Prepare the planting location. Dig up the area and loosen any compacted soils. Remove any weeds from the area and make sure to remove the roots of the weeds to prevent regrowth.

Step 3

Dig a hole for your paulownia tree that is slightly larger than the spread of the root system. Make sure the depth of the hole is equivalent to the depth of the root system so that the graft line is about an inch above soil level.

Step 4

Position the paulownia tree in the center of the hole. Fill the hole halfway with soil. Irrigate the hole to remove any air pockets and repeat the process to complete the planting. Make sure that all of the roots are covered with soil and press the soil firmly around the tree to secure its position.

Step 5

Irrigate your paulownia tree deeply and regularly to maintain its vigorous growth. Irrigate the tree about once each week and adjust the irrigation levels for periods of drought and rainfall. Provide the tree with enough water so that it reaches about 8 feet below the soil.

Step 6

Feed your paulownia tree regularly. Use slow release fertilizer with higher levels of nitrogen, such as a 30-10-10 or 20-10-10 combination, as recommended by Dragon Trees. Feed your paulownia tree once each month throughout the growing season from early spring through late fall.

Things You'll Need

  • Fertilizer
  • Shovel
  • Water


  • Dragon Trees: General Planting Instructions
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture: Paulownia Tomentosa
Keywords: paulownia tree care, dragon tree care, Royal Paulownia care

About this Author

Charmayne Smith is a business professional and freelance writer. She has worked in management for successful organizations since 1994. Smith draws on her business background to write articles, and her work has appeared in a variety of online outlets. She holds a degree in business from Cleveland State University.