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Paulownia Seed Propagation

To: Paulownia Enthusiast

Paulownia seeds are easy to germinate! Germination rate will be between 60 and 90%. The average is 80%! You must meet the following germination requirements:

Primary Requirements:

Requires light and warmth

Bare, weed less, and lose soil ( best to use sphagnum peat )

Constant high moisture with high humility ( best to let sphagnum set in shallow water)

Secondary requirements:

Protection, Protection, Protection!!! This is the same rule as Location, Location, Location in real estate. Germinate indoors!!

Fertilizers ( just a little, too much will kill the seedlings).


Seed selection

Best seed would be from a nursery seed tree have has excellent form and growth patterns. Your best seed always comes form two genetically superior parent trees, not one. Paulownia has perfect flowers, so most Paulownias self-pollinate, making the parent tree both the father and mother. That is not as good from a genetic stand point. To get genetically superior Paulownia seed, there would be a lot of labor involved in the pollination process to remove the male parts from one superior tree to pollinate another tree. I donít know anyone currently doing this and should be look into.

Second best choice would come from seed in China. The USA may have a narrow gene pool of Paulownia. Most of the trees here in the USA probably came from a few trees back in the 1800ís. Where as Asia would have the full range of genetic variance. Again it would be best if the seed had two parents instead one. So, in nature, try to obtain seed where there are many paulownia trees clumped together.

The third choice would come from local seed where the trees have good form and growth patterns. Again, try to obtain seed where there are many paulownia trees clumped together.


There are many ways to start Paulownia from seed. This is one way. There is nothing new to this technique. It is just borrowed from many other people and modified to suit Paulownia. The fact that you can do it in your home without a lot of money tied up in a greenhouse or beds, and you can raise over 1,000 small seedlings in a 6 square foot area, makes it nice! It gets you through the germination problems associated with Paulownia and to the point where the little trees want to grow.

Materials Needed: Most material you can get at a green house supply

1. 6 grains or 4 teaspoons of Paulownia seed

2. 2 flats to hold sphagnum peat

3. 10-12 gallons of high grade sphagnum

4. 4 clear plastic domes to go over the flats

5. 1 cup of instant potato flakes

6. 4 four - foot cool - white lights

7. 4 four - foot day - light lights

8. 4 plug trays (288 size 1" in size) or larger trays

9. Indoor environment (no sunlight) of 80 degrees F

10. Spray bottle & water

11. A glass quart jar Directions:


First: Mix the seed with the instant potato flakes in a quart jar to dilute the seed for even spreading.

Second: Put about 1 1/2 gallons of dry sphagnum into each flat. Make it level!

Third: Evenly spread the seed/potato mix on top of the sphagnum. Leave it on top! Do not mix into the

Fourth: Fill 2 plastic domes with water and gently place the seeded flats on top of the water filled domes. Allow

Fifth: Remove the flat and pour the remaining water from the dome. Place the dome over the top of the

Sixth: Place the seeded dome flat about 10-14 inches under the 4-foot lights. Mist lightly with water ever day.

Seventh: Wait for 3 weeks. Leave the lights on 24 hours each day. Don't let the temperature get below 70

Eighth: At 3 weeks and with a sharp pencil, transfer the small seedlings into the 288 plug trays. These plug trays

Ninth: To allow establishment, place a dome over each of the 4 trays for another week, then remove the domes

Tenth: After 8 weeks from sowing, the seedlings will need to be hardened off. This takes about 1 week of

Eleventh: In 9 to 10 weeks they will be ready to bed plant or field plant or transferred into larger pots.

P. S. Watch out for insects and disease! I use Orthene and Benlate for most problems.

Good Luck,

David Sutton

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