The foxglove or empress tree, Paulownia tomentosa, is a deciduous, fast-growing tree native to China. It’s primarily grown for its giant leaves and panicles of foxglove-shaped blooms.
If left unpruned, the foxglove tree will quickly grow to form an attractive tree. However, the biggest leaves result from pruning it to the ground each year, in late winter. The result is strong, vigorous growth with huge leaves. As it flowers on wood grown the previous year, plants pruned each year won’t produce flowers.
For best results, grow Paulownia tomentosa in full sun or dappled shade in a sheltered spot in moist, well-drained soil, though it’ll grow well in most soils.