70215When the weather warms up a bit between frosty weather and winter storms, the rich fragrance of winter blooming daphne, Daphne odora, is at its best. The domed trusses of tiny pale pink flowers are not much wider than a quarter, so are easy to overlook while investigating the source of the fragrance. ‘Aureomarginata’, the standard cultivar, has glossy evergreen leaves with narrow pale yellow margins. Mature plants are only one or two feet high. All parts of the plant are incidentally toxic.

It is no mystery why daphne is rare. It can be rather finicky, and unpredictably so. It purportedly wants rich and slightly acidic soil, in a warm but partially shaded spot; but can be difficult to grow even in ideal conditions. Yet, it is sometimes seen doing well in full sun or in dense soil of questionable quality. To make matters worse, even the healthiest plants live only about five to eight years.

11 thoughts on “Daphne

  1. So true, what you said about the temperamental daphne. I’ve only tried growing it once. I had it in a pot and it was doing really well. It outgrew the pot, so I planted it in the garden in what I think was the right kind of soil and it died straightaway!

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  2. This was one of my favorite plants to use as a landscape designer in the Portland area – where it does really well…and gets much bigger. If the front door of a place faced east or north or was shaded enough I always placed one near by so it could be enjoyed coming and going… I don’t see them here in southern Oregon so I suspect the heat does them in. I’m not sure. Thanks for the reminder of one of my favorite plants…

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    1. It is a close up picture. It is not really much to look at. When the stock plants bloom, we actually need to pluck the flowers off to promote shrubbier growth that provides more cuttings. It seems like such a waste, but we take all the plucked flowers and put them in wide bowls around the home. The fragrance lasts for quite a while.

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  3. For our thirtieth anniversaary, my wife and I booked a romantic getaway. The cabin we stayed in had huge plants of potted up Daphne. I will forever associate the aroma with that happy time.

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    1. That is nice. Although I do not like growing it in the nursery much, it reminds me of an old friend who passed away years ago. I was hired to do some of the work that he had done. He had many nice specimens around his home in town.


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