- Author: Leonard Cicerello
- Editor: Noni Todd
By Leonard Cicerello UCCE Master Gardener
Planting area: Sunset zones 4-10, 12, 14-17
Size: 4' high and 6' wide.
Bloom season: Spring.
Exposure: Morning sun and afternoon shade.
Pruning needs: Minimal pruning to correct shape.
Water needs: Water as little as plant will allow in summer to increase flowering in spring.
Snapshot: This plant is prized for its pervasive floral perfume. Its intensely fragrant flowers are pink to deep red on the outside, with creamy pink throats that form in clusters. The species is evergreen and the leaves are thick and glossy.
Winter Daphne needs sufficient air around its roots, so plant in porous soil as you would rhododendrons. Or, plant in raised beds to mitigate the issue of a heavy soil. Planting a groundcover below Winter Daphne will shade its rootzone, further protecting the roots.
A balanced fertilizer is recommended at the end of the bloom season. Use a balanced fertilizer and follow label instructions. Avoid acidic plant food.
This plant is fickle. It can thrive and put on a showy display. It can also die despite the most attentive care, displaying its unpredictable behavior.
The genus Daphne contains about a dozen species that originate from different countries, such as the Himalayas, southern Europe, China, Siberia, and Japan. Their growth habits vary from 3” tall groundcover to shrubs up to twelve feet tall. Some species are deciduous, some are semi evergreen, and some are evergreen. One characteristic they all have in common is the wonderfully fragrant flowers.
They are visually striking, and low-growing species show well in rock gardens or in containers with good drainage. Warmer interior valleys are favorable, but many species thrive in cooler coastal climates. Winter Daphne is a unique addition to coastal plantings mixed with succulents and plants with a delicate texture.
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