Edgewrothia [edj-WOR-thee-uh] is a flowering plant genus in the Thymelaeaceae family. It is native to the woodlands of China and the Himalayas and is widely cultivated in Japan to create banknotes.
The genus is named after an Irish botanist, a plant collector, and an employer of the East India Company in the 19th century – Michael Pakenham Edgeworth, and his half-sister – Maria Edgeworth.
This is a deciduous shrub with prominent dark leaves and bright yellow flowers.
Two of the most common names of Edgeworthia are:
- Paper Bush
- Oriental paperbush
- Chinese paper bush
- Edgeworthia papyrifera
Edgeworthia Flower Care
Size and Growth
Edgeworthia is a giant flowering shrub, reaching 6’ to 8’ feet tall.
The summer-loving tree sheds leaves in fall and late winter, going through beautiful fall colors and growing new ones in spring.
And during the warm season, the plant is decorated with long, plumeria-like leaves.
The plant’s green leaves are shaped like a lance head – a narrow-oval shape with a pointy top edge.
These leathery leaves usually grow to 3” to 5” inches long and 2” wide.
Apparently, the leaves are vibrant green, but their underside is usually grayish-green. When young, the leaves are feathered with velvety white hair.
Flowering and Fragrance
The deciduous shrub forms flower buds in its early April through late summer bloom season.
As they mature, the flower clusters become tiny tubular flowers in compact, dense clusters on the branch tips.
In their growing season, the flowers boast a bright yellow color and are approximately 1.5” inches to 2” inches in size.
As winter arrives, the plant sheds away its leaves, and the bare stems reveal silvery flower buds.
Edgeworthia chrysantha not only fills the garden with its natural beauty but with its sweet fragrance as well.
The fragrant flowers exude a lovely smell throughout their blooming period, similar to yellow daphne.
The red dragon variety produces orange-red flower colors.
Light and Temperature
Paperbush plants prefer partial shade to full shade for a healthy, long-lasting life but can grow in full sun.
Although this plant can tolerate morning sun, avoid direct sunlight.
The USDA plant hardiness zone 7 to 10, making these plants winter hardy in these zones.
The plant is capable of enduring severe temperatures of up to 5° degrees Fahrenheit.
Watering and Feeding
The deciduous plant has high watering needs in the summer season.
Preferably grown in a part-shade or greenhouse, the deciduous plant develops well through regular watering.
However, ensure to check the soil moisture first before watering.
Frequent watering may also be needed when the weather is supremely hot and dry.
Moreover, the plant performs well with occasional watering in winter.
As for feeding, this low-maintenance plant does not require any fertilizer for its development.
However, the plant should be nourished with compost or organic matter yearly. You can also feed Edgeworthia with organic plant food or root stimulator to promote vigorous plants and reduce transplant shock.
Soil and Transplanting
Edgeworthia chrysantha grows in a wide variety of soil types – sandy, loamy, or clay soil. However, this plant thrives in well-drained soils rich in organic matter.
The plant also prefers varying pH soil values – acidic, neutral, and alkaline soil. It grows well in slightly acid to neutral soil with pH levels ranging from 5.5 to 7.5
Remember, the soil has to be humus-rich and well-moist, regardless of the soil type. However, you must amend it if you have native soil.
If you have loamy soil, amend it with organic materials and ensure it has good drainage. This will help produce fertile clay. Also, ensure it has a pH scale of neutral to acidic.
Moreover, you may add organic compost to the soil if you want to increase the acidity of soil.
Since it is a deciduous shrub, it is best to transplant it during the dormant period (early spring and late fall).
Here’s what you need to do:
- Water the shrub for about 3 to 4 days before moving its root ball.
- Meanwhile, dig a new hole twice the size of the root ball.
- When unsure of your soil drainage, test the soil but digging a hole 12″ wide by 12″ inches deep in the planting area.
- Use a spade for digging, and make sure the soil is moist.
- Compress the shrub to a smaller size by wrapping it with twine.
- Tie it gently as not to damage any stem.
- In this way, lifting out the shrub will become a lot easier.
- Place the root ball in the new hole and fill it up with light or heavy soil.
- Water it thoroughly to keep it moist.
Grooming and Maintenance
Plant Edgeworthia in spring and water it to keep the soil moist. Remember to plant it in moist, well-drained, organically rich soil.
During the formative years, the plant requires no pruning at all. However, consider pruning when there are dead or infected leaves.
Removing dead plant parts is also necessary.
Protecting the plant from further damage is crucial, so cutting off damaged leaves is considered compulsory.
How to Propagate Paper Bush
Edgeworthia papyrifera is reproduced by stem cutting.
Cut a short length of the woody stem and put it into well-drained, moist soil in a cool area.
After a few weeks, new roots will sprout and become a new plant.
Both softwood cuttings and hardwood cuttings are used for propagating the paperbush.
Paper Bush Pests and Diseases
Fortunately, the Edgewrothia plant suffers from no serious pests or diseases. However, the paper bush plant may be attacked by earwigs.
If there is a severe infestation, remove damaged or diseased plant parts to prevent the spread of the infestation from the healthy plants.
Moreover, this plant is also prone to root rot, which is caused by constantly soggy soil. What you can do is avoid too much water.
You can also compost and add ground pine bark and hardwood as it suppresses root rot and other deadly plant diseases.
Apart from these, the plant is relatively easygoing.
Edgeworthia Chrysantha Uses
Edgeworthia plants work week in mass plantings, border plantings, foundation plantings, or in woodland gardens.
As it’s relatively heat-tolerant, the paperbush plant also works well in shade gardens in temperate climates.
Edgeworthia is also fragrant, so placing this plant near patios, porches, windows, decks, and other outdoor living areas will allow you to enjoy its fragrance.
You can also grow it easily in containers and garden beds mixed with woody ornamental shrubs and perennial plants.
In addition, the fibers of this plant’s bark are used for making a special handcrafted Japanese tissue or mitsumata, a high-quality paper.
In addition, the bark’s fibers are also employed for creating a conventional Japanese paper called “washi.”
The leaves and flowers are removed from the stems and steamed to soften the fibers. The fibers are heated for almost two hours with soda ash and mixed with mallets. And then, the tissue paper turns out to be white.
Moreover, the roots of the plants are used as a treatment for eye diseases.