Lilacina or Fargesii Empress tree is one the longest running projects at our farm. Starting in the early 1980's we experimented with many wild and arboretum collected seed strains of the genus Paulownia. Temperatures below minus 15 F meant the end of most of our projeny except one: Lilacina. A few nights of minus 20 F -still not a problem. Since then we kept watch for seeds and finally a small seed crop was produced once. It is from these seeds we have now produced a second generation of this wonderful large leafed tree with amazing blue and yellow tubular flowers. Enjoy now as seeds are rarely set with this species.
Lilac Paulownia easily grows 3-6 ft. per year with minimal water. It does die back to the ground like other Empress trees and it rarely sets seed. The wood is a light balsam wood type but very strong and durable. The growth is similar to a Catalpa but with a stronger apical dominance so it is easily to prune upright.
This tree has great potential as tree crop for timber too. It is estimated this would reduce the time to harvest in half or less. Our experience shows this tree not to be as vigorous as other Paulownia but for sure it is one zone colder than others allowing it to grow in a full zone 5.
We offer 2 year plants grown in pots. They are fully established plants. Enjoy now as this is likely a one time offering.
|Genus & Species
||Paulownia fargesii or related
||Michigan Ecos selection Originally as a cultivar discovered in western China in 1908.
||Has taken -25 F once.
-20 F is safe. Zones 5-9
||Not particular. Appears very drought tolerant.
|Ease of Cultivation
||Because of its insanely fast growth this tree could be used as a model for a fast growing timber crop. It light weight as well as its color is like you crossed balsam wood with basswood. Its deep green large leaves measuring over a foot across and its abiilty to grow in mariginal conditions make it an ideal shade tree as well. Lilacina rarely sets seed at our farm in southern Michigan so self seeding is minimized as well which makes it a much cleaner tree compared to Catalpa or silver maple.