How to grow Daphne


Daphne Odora in close up Daphne Odora shrub in bloom Daphne odora marianii


How to Grow Daphne

 Daphnes are grown for their lovely scent and many varieties of  the shrub flower in late winter and early spring. Daphnes have a strong, sweet scent and attractive red, pink and white flowers. They are generally evergreen, or semi evergreen, and their foliage is attractive with some varieties having variegation as in the image to right. Daphne has an intense scent, and because they are often blooming in the late winter when less of the garden is accessed, it is a good idea to plant  Daphne near a path so as to enjoy the scent. The Daphne in the central image was situated near a sheltered wall alongside a path. The sheltered spot in which this Daphne is grown may well account for its success in terms both of size and the number of blooms on the shrub, it is flowering really well.

Daphnes are fully hardy only really in sheltered gardens and  D. Odora, the Daphne illustrated above is the most hardy. Daphne is difficult to graft and propagate which means they are difficult to produce as a result Daphne tends to be more expensive than some other shrubs. Given this price and the fact that Daphnes are a bit tricky to grow it is important if you do buy one it is planted in the right place to do well.

Daphnes like moist but well drained soil and will not tolerate either being water logged, or drought.  Daphne need a neutral to slightly alkaline soil, if it is sandy add organic matter. A heavy clay soil may not be ideal and the most tolerant of clay soil are Daphne laureola and D. Mezereum. All Daphnes will do best in a sheltered spot with sun, although  D laureola will tolerate shade. Daphnes are not suitable to grow in container and dislike being pruned. Avoid pruning unless absolutely necessary and then only after flowering. Daphne are slow growing shrubs, it can take 7-10 years to reach mature size and then only around 3-5 feet depending on the variety. Daphnes are mostly winter or spring flowering.

Daphnes are slightly tender and do require a sheltered spot and the correct soil which makes them a bit tricky to grow. amber wheel barrow medium difficulty to grow

It is important to plant Daphne in the correct place as Daphnes do not tolerate being moved so chose the best sheltered spot.

RHS Garden merit

When choosing a Daphne, a variety which has the RHS award of garden merit is always a good starting point.

Daphne x burkwoodii is one of the easiest to grow 'Somerset' a tried and tested variety, *** hardy flowering season late spring.

Daphne Odora 'Aureomarginata' very scented late winter early spring flowering with some variegation in the leaves.

Daphne 'Jacqueline Postill' is evergreen and very fragrant but only borderline ***

If your garden presents with the right conditions and soil, Daphne is a lovely scented slow growing shrub.