This bluebell tree is one of the few blue flowering trees in the world. The leaves are similar to those of the trumpet tree. On the other hand, the large purple inflorescences, which gave the tree its name, are great and unmistakable. Flowering is early in the year, in April or May. However, it takes 3 to 5 years for such a tree to bloom for the first time. The blossoms give rise to capsule fruits, which stay on the tree until the next blossom. The bluebell tree grows quite quickly, especially in the first few years.

Beware of rapid spread

The Chinese bluebell tree is an invasive exotic, that is, the tree spreads en masse through its seeds. He uses it to drive out or crush native plants and trees and you may have to do a lot to remove the many young plants that are sprouting in the garden. All of the neighbors will also have to do with it. If you live near open terrain, the tree will spread there too and suffocate all other plants. Not a desirable thought.

However, there is a remedy in the form of the ‘Nordmax21’ variety. In Bonn, this species is specially bred for German tree plantations by the WeGrow company. ‘Nordmax21’ is a hybrid of the species Paulownia fortunei and is very well adapted to the climate in Germany. This tree grows even faster and at the same time very straight, is less sensitive to frost and can no longer reproduce independently from its seeds. This means that other plants are no longer in danger.

WeGrow describes the Nordmax21 cultivation as “the fastest tree in the world”. This makes the bluebell tree an ideal future supplier of wood.

Those who live in frost-rich areas usually do not have to worry about wild reproduction. The young specimens freeze away in winter.

Important:  The fruits should not be consumed. They should be inedible and possibly even slightly poisonous! The leaves, on the other hand, are often used as animal feed.

The care of the bluebell tree


The bluebell tree is quite easy to care for. You have to know that it grows very quickly and also likes to spread, through seeds and root runners. You have to be very behind and remove saplings and runners, otherwise you will soon have a bluebell forest in your garden. The tree looks better as a solitaire. A sheltered location is ideal so that the tree grows straight up. Otherwise this wood does not need a lot of maintenance. In the first few years, winter protection is required, which must also be thick and good. When the tree is around 3 to 5 years old, it usually no longer needs protection, unless you live in really hardy areas.


A warm, sheltered location in mild locations is important. The flower buds appear as early as autumn. They are endangered by both early autumn frosts and heavy winter frosts. The trees mostly survive the winter (from an age of approx. 5 years), but the tree does not bloom.

  • The tree gets a wide crown and needs a lot of space and should therefore stand free!
  • Nor does it thrive in the shade of other trees. It’s a solitaire.
  • The best is full sun!
  • Plant only in mild locations!
  • It is essential to plant sheltered from the wind, otherwise the tree will grow crooked! In addition, the leaves are shredded and that looks very ugly.

Plant substrate

In terms of soil, the bluebell tree is not particularly demanding. The location is more important. The soil should not be too nutrient-poor and moderately dry.

  • The plant substrate should be permeable to water and rich in nutrients.
  • A weakly acidic to alkaline substrate is favorable.
  • A moderately dry to fresh soil is favorable, in any case well-drained.
  • Soils that are too rich in nutrients, that are deep and that are too damp lead to poor maturity of the wood.


The bluebell tree is usually offered as a potted plant, so it can be planted all year round, except when it freezes, of course. But the best time is spring, because then the roots have enough time to anchor themselves in the ground.

  • The bluebell tree is deep-rooted.
  • The root is delicate, you have to be careful when planting!
  • The tree can be transplanted up to the age of 5 years. Then you should let it stand.

Watering and fertilizing

  • In the growing season, i.e. from April to September, the tree needs sufficient water. If he does not get this, he does not grow or grows only a little.
  • Due to the large leaves, the tree evaporates a lot of water, so it needs regular replenishment.
  • An older tree can get a good supply of water from deeper layers of the earth thanks to its deep roots, a young tree cannot.
  • If the nutrient content of the soil is low, use slow-release fertilizer in the spring!
  • In no case fertilize after the end of July, because then the fresh shoots will no longer ripen and frostbite can occur.

To cut

The bluebell tree is easy to cut. If you want to keep it at the same height, i.e. not let it grow out, you have to cut it regularly right from the start. If you let it grow to the desired size and only then cut it, the shape and beauty are gone, the tree looks mutilated. Since some shoots in young trees usually freeze to death anyway, you have to cut them off. Then you can make a real cut out of it.

  • Only thin out or a radical cut every one to two years for a tropical appearance through even larger leaves
  • A cut at a young age ensures that the crown grows evenly and densely.
  • It is cut after flowering.
  • A cut in autumn or winter increases the chance of frost damage.
  • Trees can be decapitated or cut and they can also be put on sticks.
  • If you want to keep the tree at a certain height, you have to cut the main shoot above a pair of buds and break out one of the buds opposite. So the tree continues to form only a tip, a leading shoot. Starting from this shoot, the other shoots are shortened in such a way that a pyramid shape is created.


The bluebell tree should be frost-resistant down to -25 ° C. However, only short-term severe frost is tolerated. Therefore a warm, sheltered location with lots of sun is important. Young trees are particularly susceptible to frost.

  • Young plants must be well protected from frost for the first four years. It is best to overwinter them under foil or in a greenhouse.
  • As long as the tree is not too big, it can be packed in thick fleece, preferably in two layers. This protects the flower bases from frost and from cold easterly winds.
  • Otherwise it is generally advisable to protect the root area with a thick layer of leaves or straw so that nothing happens to the sensitive roots.


The bluebell tree can be propagated by sowing or root cuttings. He does both by himself. As a rule, however, this is not desirable.


  • Sow in autumn or winter. A cold box is best.
  • It is essential to use potting soil or coconut fiber, as these are permeable to air and poor in nutrients.
  • Keep the substrate evenly slightly moist.
  • Cover the cultivation vessel with translucent film or glass!
  • Don’t forget to ventilate!
  • Set up bright but without sun!
  • Root cuttings in winter
  • Very easy to propagate.

Diseases and pests

The bluebell tree is very resistant to diseases and pests. However, it can happen that snails eat the fresh shoots, especially on young trees.

Bluebell tree not blooming?
Usually this is because our winters are too cold. The tree’s blossoms are already laid out in autumn. In severe winters, they simply freeze to death, so you won’t have any flowers in the following spring. After mild winters, on the other hand, you have a lush flow of flowers in April May. Therefore the tree is more suitable for mild areas.

Bluebell tree in a planter?
You can certainly cultivate the tree in a bucket, which makes winter protection easier. However, the bluebell tree grows very quickly and that usually makes it necessary to plant it out after a few years. A large bucket and the right substrate are important.

  • Substrate made of 80% white peat and 20% gravel or expanded clay.
  • Drainage in the pot
  • PH value from 5.5 to 6, limescale if necessary
  • Repot in a larger container every 2 to 3 years
  • Fertilizing with full nutrient fertilizer (4 grams per liter of substrate)
  • Protect well from frost in winter!
  • It is best to cut something annually!

The bluebell tree is a highlight in every garden, at least during the flowering period. Unfortunately, most of the trees we cultivate do not bloom because the buds freeze to death in winter. Blossoms can only be expected regularly in a wine-growing climate, otherwise only after very mild winters. Maintenance is easy. A suitable location and sufficient water are important in summer, because the large leaves evaporate a lot of it. Winter protection for the young trees is necessary in the first few years. After about 5 years it is no longer necessary. Otherwise the bluebell tree is easy to care for. However, it produces a lot of leaves that can be disposed of in the compost.

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