Compact and beautiful in the sunny to lightly shaded garden.

Red Dragon Paperbush

Item # 48453
Buy 3+ at $25.95 ea
Buy 6+ at $23.95 ea
Item is sold out.

Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Red Dragon'

Fragrant blooms the size of golfballs cover this shrub in early spring.
Paperbush is seldom seen in American gardens, despite its intense fragrance and unusual late winter to early spring blooms. Even more rare is this Japanese cultivar, which sports flowers of red (rather than the yellow of the species) and blooms slightly later, joining the spring bulbs to produce an incredible show of color and fragrance in the sunny border.

'Red Dragon' is a magnificent shrub, with a very open, interesting branching habit, spidery yet rounded. Expect it to reach 5 to 6 feet high and wide, its dark brown stems covered in long, pointed, elegant olive-green foliage from mid-spring through fall. Very slow-growing, it gradually acquires a beautiful shape, its outline almost as exciting as the blooms on the its bare winter silhouette.

Appearing in earliest spring, the blooms are about the size and exactly the shape of golfballs, with dozens of tiny florets that emerge from green buds to sport long creamy trumpets with a flare of watermelon-red at the tip. Intensely fragrant, they appear at the very end of each long, elegant branch, creating a very stylized, unusual look. 'Red Dragon' is destined to be the talking point of your early-spring garden, so find a site worthy of its presence and design an accent planting around it!

The flowers remain for weeks, and may be cut for indoor arrangements, though the heavy musky-sweet aroma -- not unlike that of Lilies -- is not to everyone's liking indoors. After they pass, the foliage emerges in whorls at the ends of the branches, giving an entirely different look to 'Red Dragon.'

The open habit of this shrub makes it a good choice for climbing plants such as Clematis, which add another long season to its display of beauty. It is a friendly plant in a crowded border, its widely-spaced, bowl-shaped branches admitting the stems of other plants easily into their midst. But because of its rarity, it also holds sway as a specimen.

Give 'Red Dragon' moist, well-drained soil. It is suitable for large containers, and makes a fine impression in the sunny to partly shaded border. Untroubled by most pests and diseases, this Asian native is long-lived and carefree. Highly recommended, but do order early as quantities are very limited. Zones 7-9.

Genus Edgeworthia
Species chrysantha
Variety 'Red Dragon'
Item Form 1-Quart
Zone 7 - 9
Bloom Season Early Spring
Habit Mound-shaped
Plant Height 5 ft - 6 ft
Plant Width 5 ft - 6 ft
Additional Characteristics Bloom First Year, Easy Care Plants, Fragrance
Bloom Color Cream, Light Red, Multi-Color
Foliage Color Olive Green
Light Requirements Full Sun, Part Shade
Moisture Requirements Moist,  well-drained
Resistance Disease Resistant, Heat Tolerant, Pest Resistant
Season Of Interest Spring
Soil Tolerance Normal,  loamy
Uses Border, Containers, Cut Flowers, Specimen
Restrictions Virgin Islands, Canada, Guam, Hawaii, Puerto Rico
Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Average Based on 1 Reviews Write a Review
Growing Great in Zone 4
Wendy J from ME wrote (May 30, 2012):
I have been trying to figure out what this plant was for months and finally found it in a flower magazine. I started a snippet a little over a year ago and it's growing great. No one around here has one as I am in a Zone 4 region... and I have 2 of these beauties. It is great to learn more about them. Thanks
Paperbush Plant


Set plants 5 to 7 feet apart in partial shade in a moist, deeply worked soil that is high in organic matter.


Water regularly during dry periods. A mulch of straw, pine needles, shredded bark, or shredded leaves will help to retain soil moisture.


Zones 7-9

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Tips for gardening in particularly hot, dry climates:

1. Water with a drip system whenever possible – soak the bed slowly and thoroughly to a depth of 10" to 12".

2. Watering deeply every 3 to 5 days is preferable to a shallow daily watering.

3. Water in the early morning, so foliage has time to dry.

4. Add a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch or similar material to aid in water retention and help keep the roots cool during hot weather.