Daphne is a plant that captures the imagination of gardeners because of its fragrance. There are 50 different species of Daphne throughout the world – some are deciduous and others are evergreen.
Daphne are generally neat, compact plants that are at home in dappled shade. Some are erect, while others are rounded or even spreading. The showy rounded heads of the small flowers open from mid-winter to late spring. Depending on the species they can be in delicate shades of white, cream, yellow or pink. Daphne odora has pink and white flowers and there is a variegated form with white flowers, and they’re all fragrant.
Whilst mostly rewarding plants there are a few things that can go wrong. Look out for leaves that are a very light green. This may indicate the plant needs fertilizing. After flowering is best with a dedicated fertilizer with iron chelates. Often Daphne can suffer from root rot. The plant could easily have been over-watered, and the roots then rot causing the leaves to look bedraggled. Another problem is the leaves may suddenly hang down limply, and feel leathery and dry. Most often, this is caused by over watering. About 20 years ago, there was a Daphne virus, but, with proper hygiene and better plant propagation methods, rarely do you get virus now days. People think that these plants love to be moist all the time, but you should water regularly with dry periods in between depending on heat of course. Use mulch to keep the roots cool.
Watering & Pests
If Daphne are over or under watered, it causes them great stress and that’s when insects like scale, attack. Scale looks like little brown or black dots that appear on the leaves, their undersides, and or the stems. Underneath the scale’s protective helmet is an insect. Just squash them, or smother the scale with white oil or canola oil.
Morning sun or an easterly-facing spot. Anywhere that’s got shade from the hot afternoon sun. Don’t forget really good drainage is also important.
Planting and Care
When you’re planting out a potted Daphne, just be careful. The roots should be white and healthy. Try not to damage the roots as you’re planting, so there is no need to tickle them out. Just plant it and mulch to cool the roots. When it finishes flowering in spring, fertilize with organic matter, and prune it at that time too. Keep it mulched and moist over summer.
The rewards of having a happy and healthy Daphne plant become obvious in those months when their lovely scent wafts through your garden. Picking some and placing it in a vase inside will fill the house with perfume. Jim’s Mowing can assist you with planting a Daphne or caring for what you have. They are favored plant on the Jim’s Mowing plant list.