Introducing your next favourite plant - the fabulously fragrant-flowered foxglove tree, Paulownia fortunei Fast Blue (R) 'Minfast'
The foxglove tree is one of those plants that always draws gasps of amazement when in full flower, it really is a sight to behold in bloom. It's a tree that we're always getting asked if we stock, so we tracked down this garden gem and this is your opportunity to get one of these sought-after beauties for your own garden.
'Fast Blue' grows rapidly (up to 1m (3ft) in a year) and will flower reliably, sometimes in the following year after planting. One of the bluest of the foxglove trees and bred especially for its colour, the flowers are widely funnel-shaped, foxglove-like, very fragrant, deep violet purple outside and almost creamy white inside with yellow throat. Held on erect stems just like our native foxgloves.
Flowers have a strong vanilla fragrance and are produced profusely in May and the panicles of trumpet-shaped velvety blooms are a reliable nectar source - a magnet for pollinating insects - giving rise to its other name of the Honey Plant.
Slightly more compact and less vigorous than the more readily available Paulownia 'tomentosa', this is a tree more suited to our gardens, and has been given the RHS Award of Garden Merit, so you can be sure that it will perform!
Plants are also notable for their large, heart-shaped, mid green, deciduous leaves (up to 20cm across), which are very hairy underneath and a feature in their own right after the flowers have faded, continuing to give you garden interest throughout the seasons.
Easy to grow in a warm, sunny position, sheltered from strong winds in order to protect flower buds that need to overwinter and also to prevent emerging leaves from damage. Paulownia excels as a specimen tree and is fully hardy down to -25C.
When planting, select an appropriate spot with enough space to allow your plants to grow. If you wish to grow Paulownia for the large leaves, then pollarding the tree will produce better growth, although at the expense of flowers. Supplied as an established tree in a 1L pot, ready for planting out.