How To Care For Edgeworthia Plants

Edgewrothia [edj-WOR-thee-uh] is a flowering plant genus in the Thymelaeaceae family and native to the woodlands of the China and Himalayas and widely cultivated in Japan to create their banknotes.

The genus is named after an English 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.

Blooming Edgeworthia (paper bush)

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
  • Edgeworthia papyrifera

Edgeworthia Flower Care

Size and Growth

Edgeworthia is a giant flowering shrub, reaching up to 6’ – 8’ feet tall. 

The summer-loving tree sheds its leaves in fall and late winter going through beautiful fall colors and grows new ones in spring.

The green leaves of the plant are shaped like a lance head – narrow-oval shape with a pointy top edge. 

These leathery leaves usually grow up to 3” to 5” inches long and 2” inches 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 early April through late summer. 

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 the winter arrives, the plant sheds away its leaves. 

However, the bare stems maintain the flower buds with silvery-white hair.

Edgeworthia 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.

The hardiness zone/USDA zone 7 to 10. 

The plant is capable of enduring severe temperatures for up to 5° degrees Fahrenheit (-15° C).

Watering and Feeding

The deciduous plant has high watering needs in the summer season. 

Preferably grown in part-shade or greenhouse, the deciduous plant develops well through regular watering. 

Frequent watering may also be needed when the weather is supremely hot and dry. 

However, in the winter, the plant performs well with occasional watering. 

This low-maintenance plant does not require any fertilizer for its development. 

However, the plant should be nourished with compost or organic matter every year.

Soil and Transplanting

  • Edgeworthia chrysantha grows in a wide variety of soil types – sandy, loamy, or clay soil. 
  • The plant also prefers varying pH soil values – acidic, neutral, and alkaline soil. 
  • Regardless of the soil type, it has to be humus-rich and well-moist.
  • Since it is a deciduous shrub, it is best to transplant during the dormant period (early spring and late fall). 
  • Water the shrub for about 3 to 4 days before moving its root ball. 
  • In the meanwhile, dig a new hole, twice the size of the root ball. 
  • 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 to not 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. 

During the formative years, the plant requires no pruning at all. 

However, consider pruning when there are dead or infected leaves. 

Protecting the plant from further damage is crucial which is why 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 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

A flowering shrub suffers from no serious pests or diseases. 

However, the summer plant may be attacked by earwigs

Apart from this, the plant is relatively easy-going.

Edgeworthia Chrysantha Uses

The roots of the plants are used as a treatment for eye diseases too. 

The fibers of this plant’s barks are used for making a special handcrafted Japanese tissue – mitsumata paper.

In addition to this, 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 are steamed to soften the fibers. 

The fibers are heated for almost two hours with soda ash and mixed with mallets. 

The tissue paper turns out to be white.  

Edgeworthia looks great in woodland gardens, winter gardens, and any botanical garden.

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