Growing Daphne Plants In The Garden
Philippe.pechoux, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Daphnes are highly lovely shrubs that produce white to light pink tubular blooms in the spring or early winter in warm areas, followed by little red berries (drupes). In warm areas, the tiny, rectangular, light green leaves are evergreen, but daphne loses leaves; yet, depending on the cultivar, they may still be hardy to zones 4. Typically, the shrub forms a magnificent mound in a circle. For its variegated leaves, cultivars like ‘Carol Mackie’ are widely prized.
Daphnes are relatively modest shrubs that make excellent foundation plants or examples for shrub borders in small yards. Daphnes are perfect for tiny gardens. The majority of types are evergreen, adding colour and structure to the winter garden. Daphne blossoms are also great for cutting, and their aroma is enhanced when brought indoors.
Since they grow slowly, these shrubs are frequently planted in the spring or early fall from mature nursery plants. These plants can take between seven and 10 years to attain their relatively tiny mature size. Though all parts of the Daphne are poisonous, the colourful berries in particular, beware.
|Botanical Name||Daphne spp., Daphne x hybrids|
|Plant Type||Broadleaf evergreen shrub|
|Mature Size||1 to 5 feet tall and 2 to 6 feet wide (depends on variety)|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun to part shade|
|Soil Type||Moist, well-draining soil|
|Soil pH||5.5–6.4 (slightly acidic)|
|Flower Color||White to light pink|
|Foliage||Lengthy, glossy, deep green, or patterned.|
|Hardiness Zones||4–9 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Europe, Asia, Africa|
|Toxicity||Toxic to humans and pets|
Daphne plants are forest shrubs that require a location with filtered light. Plant your daphne as close to a door or pathway as you can so that you may enjoy the wonderful aroma every day as you pass by.
Make sure your daphne bush is planted in a light, well-draining soil for optimal results. Try a raised bed with lots of garden compost and leaf mould if your soil is mostly clay.
If you pay attention to adding sufficient of drainage and pick a pot deep enough to support the roots, smaller species of daphne can be successfully cultivated in containers.
Create a hole that is roughly twice as wide and as deep as the pot. Avoid making the typical error of planting the plant too deeply; daphne shrubs really enjoy having their root ball around 12 inch above the surrounding soil. Mulch, water well, and replenish the soil surrounding the plant. For the first few weeks and during dry spells as they become established, especially the first year or two, water a couple times each week.
Daphne is a difficult shrub to cultivate. They do not transfer well, and the grower must strike a careful balance between keeping the soil wet and well-drained. These plants have been known to die suddenly and for no apparent reason. To minimise disappointment, consider them temporary and arrange them in a location where they may be easily removed if your plant dies.
Well-established Daphne shrubs may be quite easy to care for if the correct circumstances are found, as they do not require much upkeep, pruning, or special care. Because there are so many different types of Daphne shrubs, you must choose one. Choose the one that is most suited to your surroundings and zone.
When planting a nursery-grown specimen, place it somewhat higher than it was in the nursery container, so the root crown is lifted by about 1/2 inch. Preparing the soil with compost and azalea food can help generate the slightly acidic pH level that these bushes prefer.
Use a thick layer of mulch as protection during extended cold spells and cover with horticultural fleece.
Daphnes don’t appreciate extremes of drought or cold, wet roots, so water frequently but don’t overwater. To nourish and shield the roots, spread out a thick layer of mulch in the spring and fall.
It’s important to remember that daphne is very poisonous if eaten and that the sap can irritate skin and eyes.
Since they naturally develop into elegantly rounded, mounded plants, these slow-growing shrubs don’t need much trimming. Trim off any broken branches or branches that occasionally behave badly. If pruning is necessary, do it as soon as flowering is over to conserve the blossoms for the next season. However, Daphnes often dislike pruning and may suffer from noticeable dieback if extensively trimmed.
Daphne plants may easily be multiplied by taking semi-green cuttings between July and September. The relatively slow growth rate, however, makes it more common for consumers to purchase bigger nursery-grown plants than to spend years growing a cutting into a mature plant.
If you decide to try propagation, cut a long stem in the late summer from healthy, new-looking growth. Look for somewhat hard wood that has been removed from the region where old wood is beginning to sprout green growth. Using precise pruners, divide the cut branch into segments that are 4 to 6 inches long and have a good number of mature leaves.
Each cutting should be planted in a mixture of potting soil and perlite after having the lower half of each cutting’s leaves removed. Put the pot in a location that receives bright indirect light, properly water the growth material, and cover it with plastic. Transplant the plants into a large container filled with potting soil that drains properly after the roots have formed (this might take a few months). The young shrub may be placed in the landscape as soon as a lot of new growth has started to appear. Before the plant is ready to be transplanted, you might need to let it grow in its container for a full year or more.
Daphne Plant Varieties
Selecting a kind of daphne plant might be difficult. Daphne comes in a number of variants, however these are the most widely cultivated and widely accessible ones:
If you like a strong aroma, Winter daphne (D. odora) is the kind to grow. Winter daphne, which stands 4 feet (1 metre) tall and has slender, glossy leaves, is the kind most prone to sudden death syndrome. Late winter is when the blooms blossom. The winter daphne ‘Aureo-Marginata’ has variegated leaves.
Garland daphne (D. cneorum) is a low grower that grows to less than a foot (31 cm.) in height, making it perfect for rock gardens and bordering paths. The trailing branches are roughly 3 feet long (91 cm.). After covering the stems with blossoms in the spring, you may cover them with mulch to stimulate roots. The finest cultivars include ‘Eximia,’ ‘Pgymaea Alba,’ and ‘Variegata.’
D. x burkwoodii can be evergreen, semi-evergreen, or deciduous according on the climate zone. It grows to be 3 to 4 feet (1 metre) tall and blooms in late spring, with a second flush of flowers in late summer. Carol Mackie, a popular variegated variety.
Daphne x transatlantica ‘Pink Fragrance’ is a compact, semi-evergreen shrub with highly fragrant, pale-pink flowers. It blooms from spring to late fall since the flowers are formed on fresh growth.
Daphne mezereum is a shade-loving forest shrub that can also take full sun if its roots are not allowed to dry up. In late winter, clusters of pink, lilac, and violet blooms grow on bare branches and fade as new spring foliage emerges.
Daphne laureola, often known as spurge laurel, bears light green aromatic blooms in late winter and early spring, which are followed by black fruit.
Common Pests and Plant Diseases
One of the most frequent issues is root rot, which is typically brought on by improper drainage. Don’t overwater and check that the soil conditions are ideal. Waterlogging or a lack of nutrients in the soil might result in yellowing leaves or dieback.
Daphnes can also fall victim to viral diseases, honey fungus, phytopthora root rot, and fungal leaf spot.
Hard pruning doesn’t work well on daphnes.