Paper Bush

16 Jul

Paper Bush (Edgeworthia chrysantha), deciduous shrub, slow to moderate growth to 5-8 ft. in height with larger spread, rounded growth havit, yellow-brown bark with large ornamental leaf scars, drooping clusters of very fragrant yellow or orange flowers in early spring, lime-green foliage is tropical looking, sun to light shade, deer resistant, good container plant.

This shrub performs the impossible: fills the late-winter garden, otherwise so bleak and uninviting, with powerful, sweet fragrance for up to 2 months! A magnificent choice for any mild-climate garden,Edgeworthia chrysantha is handsome year-round, but really comes into its own when the rest of the garden is sleeping. If you have a spot of partial shade or dappled sunlight, consider transforming it with this spectacular shrub.

Familiarly known as Paperbush Plant, this well-branched shrub often begins blooming in mid-winter, long after its foliage has fallen and its silhouette is a tracery of thick, upright branches, somewhat like a young fig tree with more spread. Each flowerhead is creamy yellow or orange, composed of masses of tiny florets to form a 1½- to 2-inch cluster. The blooms are set on the very tips of the branches, and once they open, expect them to remain for 6 to 8 weeks, releasing a fabulously sweet, intense scent.

Winter is Edgeworthia’s season of glory, but far from its only time to shine in the partly shaded garden. Spring brings large, slender leaves, often with a silvery overlay. The foliage remains lush and green through summer, then turns a soft shade of yellow for autumn before dropping. Very handsome, it is a fine backdrop for Hosta and Brunnera in the shade border, and blooms at the same time as many Camellia cultivars.

Expect Edgeworthia to reach 8 feet tall and up to 18 feet wide in the garden, given good drainage and relief from punishing afternoon sun. Related to Daphne, it is long-lived and very low maintenance, reaching about 5 feet high within as many years. Superb in the back of the border, it is also a tempting choice to site along garden pathways, where visitors can touch its foliage and marvel at the blooms.

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