In recent years, pollution by heavy metals (HM) has become an increasingly serious problem in forest ecosystems, making their remediation a primary research focus in China. Poplars are ideal candidates for phytoremediation because of their great commercial value, ability to produce large biomass, and high capacity for HM uptake. The individual and combined effects of copper (Cu) and lead (Pb) on Populus yunnanensis growth and physiology were tested for both male and female potted plants in four treatment groups: control, Pb only (1,000 mg kg-1 PbAc dry soil), Cu only (400 mg kg-1 CuSO4·5H2O dry soil), and combined Pb and Cu. Each treatment group contained 25 male and 25 female individuals. The experimental duration was 3 months. Compared with the control plants, the Cu and Pb treatment groups experienced reduced leaf, stem, root, and total biomass for both sexes, but the impact on growth rate was more severe in females than in males. The cellular ultrastructure of leaves was extensively damaged in both male and female trees but was more severely damaged in females. Male trees demonstrated a stronger Cu absorption ability with a bioconcentration factor 2.30 times that of females. Significant changes in pigment content, membrane lipid peroxidation, and protein oxidation (carbonyl) also indicated that females were more sensitive than males to Cu- and Pb-induced stress. The higher Cu and Pb tolerance in males correlated with better H2O2 scavenging ability and proline accumulation. Nevertheless, the combined stress from both Cu and Pb yielded greater negative effect on the growth and physiology of P. yunnanensis for both sexes.