Author Topic: Paulownia Tomentosa problem :)  (Read 1303 times)


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Paulownia Tomentosa problem :)
« on: June 04, 2016, 03:12 PM »
Hello everyone on -- a long time ago I dabbled in bonsai ... had a juniper that road the highways with me in 97 .... but a wreck eventually caused its demise.  I was too heart broken at first, then life just kept me busy.

fast forward nearly 20 years and I'm married and have a daughter -raising one of them is a joy that puts bonsai training way down on the list-- but i've been thinking of taking up the hobby again. HOWEVER I really would prefer starting with a juniper as all of you suggest. My problem is that my wife didn't realize that the Empress tree is basically a weed tree-- at least that's how its seen here in Florida-- and so I really don't want to start planting her seedlings in the ground all over my yard, since I live only 5 miles from the Apalachicola National Forest.

She has like 20 of these little seedlings and we feel weird destroying them.  So I thought, how about making them bonsai? it would allow me to get back into the hobby, control the growth of this invasive and keep it from propogating its seeds ... And not have to destroy it... at least not directly and on purpose.

What do you all think?

Any advice on how to start ?


Leo in NE Illinois

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Re: Paulownia Tomentosa problem :)
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2016, 12:01 PM »
OK, well, other than the huge leaves of Paulownia being all out of proportions for bonsai, I guess you could follow your plan, and hope they die off quickly from neglect or improperly applied technique.

Given how attached you became to your Juniper, which is a good choice for bonsai, I would compost the Paulownia quick before you, your wife or your kid get too attached to them. "Accidentally" hit them with herbicide, then claim you don't know why they died. Then suggest starting with something nicer for bonsai.

In terms of flowering bonsai, Crepe myrtle, Eugenia, Malpighia, Satsuki, Chaenomeles, Cotoneaster, Grewia, and a host of others are better choices for bonsai, have flowers for the women in your life, and are easy to grow.

Junipers of course are great bonsai. As is a Bald Cypress for a larger more "masculine" tree. I don't know where you are at, but zone 8a normally would be perfect for Japanese Black Pine.

That's my take on your situation. Nothing wrong with using invasive species for bonsai, that'a one way to keep them out of the "dirt" and keep them from reproducing. A bunch of guys near me are on a "Buckthorn for Bonsai" kick, Rhamus catharica (spelling?) which is a nasty invasive in my area, and I applaud their efforts, though frankly I can't stand looking at them simply because of the negative associations with what the species has done in changing the character of my old childhood haunts.

Good luck, you can apply bonsai techniques to any species of woody plant, and a few that don't have true wood. This does not mean just any old species will eventually become bonsai. It is very unlikely a Paulownia in a pot will ever evoke the emotions from a scene from nature, no matter the skill of the grower, its natural habits just won't make that possible. There are thousands of species with much more promise, that the effort would be better spent on.