I smelled this plant long before I ever saw it, and no wonder — the flowers are so fragrant that you can literally smell them a football field away! I took a group of friends to the South Carolina Botanical Gardens last winter just to see this magnificent Edgeworthia in bloom, and we “followed our noses” right to it! What a superb shrub for any garden where sweet scent and all-season beauty is admired!
Known as Paperbush Plant, this well-branched shrub begins blooming in December, when it’s nothing but a bare silhouette in the garden, and continues for a month or more. The individual florets are tiny, but a few dozen make up a 1½- to 2-inch cluster that will simply knock you sideways. I think the fragrance is a bit like Gardenia with a slightly spicier element thrown in. It won’t surprise you to hear that Edgeworthia is related to Daphne — but with a hundred times the fragrance!
Edgeworthia thrives in partial shade and appreciates well-enriched, moist soil. In spring, after the blooms pass, it sports lovely bluish foliage with silvery undertones that are both eye-catching and soothing. And in autumn — yes, ANOTHER season of color! — the foliage turns rich shades of yellow! This is my kind of shrub — beautiful year-round and ready to meet each season with a new look!
This shrub eventually reaches 7 feet high and wide (it will be about 5 feet tall after as many years) and makes a nice stand-alone specimen or back-of-the-border choice. You don’t have to worry about missing the scent of the blooms, but you may want to plant Edgeworthia within reach of passersby, because the foliage invites handling! Be sure to snip a few blooms to keep the house fragrant all winter, too!
Space these 2-year-old plants about 7 feet apart in partial shade and rich, moist soil. Zones 7-10.
Limited supply. Please order early!
Edgeworthia chrysantha jumped into my consciousness with the constant bombardment from Wayside Gardens email ads, or newsletters as they refer to the mouthwatering photo laden enticements. I have done lots of business with Wayside, some happily, some not so. They send catalogs in the mail, snag me at the computer and even though I try and resist, sometimes they wear me down. Just yesterday as I was posting the Crocus story with the added Forest Pansy saga, here comes another Wayside message, and as the photos are downloading with the timely title of “Blooms, Bark, and Foliage for Late Winter and Early Spring Interest”, there is a photo of the much sought after Edworthia. Mentioned in various articles as being so wonderful it boggles the mind, usually it is also mentioned about its lack of hardiness. Oh well, the deed is done. It has been ordered to be planted by the redbud, which will get a trunk wrapping and a little incantation for its recovery.