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How to Germinate Paulownia Tree Seeds

By Heide Braley ; Updated September 21, 2017

The paulownia tree (Paulownia tomentosa) is also known as the foxglove tree and the princess tree. It is a fast-growing tree that originated in China and is valued for its bug-resistant wood as well as its use in erosion control. According to Plants for a Future, the wood is "used for making boxes, clogs, furniture, and musical instruments." The seeds are easy to germinate once you know their requirements.

Mix equal parts of the seed with potato flakes. The seeds are very small and look similar to the flakes. Adding them to the flakes dilutes them for easier sowing. The potato will also help keep them moist once you have planted them.

Fill a shallow tray with potting soil to a depth of 1 inch and dampen. This tray must have a clear covering so that light can get through. Use a clear polyethylene film stretched over the top if you do not have a fitted cover.

Sprinkle the diluted seeds evenly over the surface of the potting soil. Expect a 70 percent germination rate if you have good and fresh seeds. Do not want to bury the seeds since they need light to germinate.

Water the seeds lightly. The potato flakes will absorb the moisture and keep the seeds damp until they sprout. Cover the container with the lid or film and set in a warm place with plenty of sunshine.

Remove the lid as soon as you see green sprouts appearing. Mist the seedlings lightly and thin them out as they grow larger to provide enough space. Transplant them to a larger container when they are just about an inch high.


Things You Will Need

  • Potting soil
  • Instant potato flakes
  • Shallow planting container with clear lid
  • Polyethylene film


  • Check with your local extension to see if paulownia trees are listed as an invasive species in your area before planting.

About the Author


Maryland resident Heide Braley is a professional writer who contributes to a variety of websites. She has focused more than 10 years of research on botanical and garden articles and was awarded a membership to the Society of Professional Journalists. Braley has studied at Pennsylvania State University and Villanova University.