Featured Plant: Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha)

  • January 24, 2012

edgeworthiaA “Featured Plant” is a plant of great interest in multiple seasons, a plant with unusual foliage or floral characteristics, or a plant that is under-utilized or unknown to many novice gardeners.  In other words, it’s a plant worth knowing!  Read on to learn about the lovely Paperbush…

This lovely member of the Daphne family boasts plumeria-like silvery-green foliage in spring and summer, which turns a pleasing pale yellow in the fall.  But the real fun begins in early winter when the leaves drop to reveal attractive speckled brown bark, and beautiful velvety silver buds begin to appear at the tip of each branch.  By late winter, the umbrella shaped crown of this plant will be covered with golden yellow pendent flower clusters, producing a powerful sweet fragrance and stunning display for up to two months!  It is the kind of plant that evokes a surprised “what is that?” from every garden visitor.

Edgeworthia grows about 6 feet tall and wide and would appreciate some afternoon shade or the dappled light of a woodland garden.  If possible, situate your Edgeworthia near a bench or pathway, where you can appreciate its splendor and perfume on a mild winter afternoon.  Snip a flower cluster for an indoor arrangement and be amazed as fragrance fills the room!

Edgeworthia fills a special niche in the late winter garden, filling it with bright color, wonderful fragrance, and attractive structure when most of the garden is sleeping.  This fascinating plant is underutilized in the South and should be a must-have for every gardener who would appreciate a burst of flower and fragrance in the darkest weeks of winter.