Paperbush (Edgeworthia chrysantha) is one of my winter- and early spring-blooming favorites. This uncommon deciduous shrub from China is in the same family as winter daphne. It sports an interesting growth habit with flexible, almost rubbery stems that emerge from its crown. Expect a height and spread of 6 to 12 ft.
Ideally suited for a well-drained location that receives afternoon shade, paperbush bears lush, tropical-looking, plumeria-like leaves during the growing season. Occasional watering may be necessary during hot, dry spells in the summer.
When fall arrives, the leaves are shed to reveal a number of plump, silvery flower buds. At first glance it appears as if these “buds” are fully opened flowers, but that’s not true. It’s only an illusion created by the silky-white hairs that enclose the buds.
Wait until February and early March to enjoy the real floral display. After years of wintertime rain, sleet, snow or ice, paperbush always delivers. Each one is comprised of yellow tubular flowers on the inside surrounded by white on the outside. A paperbush in bloom in mid-winter never fails to take me to my “happy place.” Perhaps it’ll do the same for you.
Bob Polomski 2016(c)