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Monday - June 22, 2009

From: Colorado Springs, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native. Why are my potted Royal Empress trees dying?
Answered by: Joe Marcus


I have purchased several Royal Empress trees over the past two years. Why won't they grow? Some sprouted leaves and then died while in the pots I planted them in. While others, that are 2 years old won't grow more than a foot the whole year. Help?!*


We know this is going to seem like a strange answer, but count yourself blessed.  Royal Empress tree, Paulownia tomentosa has far more bad habits than it has endearing attributes.  Above all, we think you should remove your Royal Empress trees and plant something less likely to cause you problems in the future.  Several previous questions and answers to Ask Mr. Smarty Plants deal with the consequences of growing this invasive species:

Invasive, non-native Paulownia

Information about Invasive Paulownia Tree

Dead-appearing Royal Paulownia trees in Manteno, IL

Fast growing, possibly invasive trees for South Carolina

If, after reading of the horrors of owning one of these trees you still want one, you might contact your county's Cooperative Extension Service agent for advice.  Growing trees in pots is tricky, especially in Colorado where the roots are very prone to freezing.  Perhaps that is the issue with your trees.


More Non-Natives Questions

Pruning of non-native weigela and roses
June 29, 2009 - I have a Red Prince wiegala (spelling?) and while most of the branches have leaves and red flowers, there are some branches that never produced any leaves or flowers. Should I prune them? If so, can...
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Non-native, invasive mimosa trees in Vincennes IN
April 29, 2014 - I have 3 Mimosa trees here in Vincennes, Indiana and so far none of them are leafing out this spring (4-28-14) Do you think that this past winter could have killed then?
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Red pods on Canna Lilies from Windsor VA
July 21, 2013 - What are the dark red pods on my canna lilies?
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Why aren't my Forsythias blooming in Stone Mountain, GA?
March 24, 2010 - We have a large forsythia stand that has bloomed beautifully for 14 years in a row. Two summers ago I cut them way back in July. For the past two years they have only leafed out, no, or very few bloom...
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Care for non-native ice plant in Virginia
October 12, 2008 - Regarding the ice plant in Virginia - do you cut it back or just trim or just leave it alone before winter?
view the full question and answer

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