From the Desk of Ed Hume: Winter Daphne

February 7, 2011 at 12:00 AM Leave a comment

If you appreciate flowering plants that have fragrance, you’ll really enjoy the winter daphne, D, odora marginata.  It’s late winter and early spring flowers are intensely fragrant.  This is one evergreen shrub you will want to plant in an area of the garden where everyone can enjoy its distinctive floral fragrance.  Of course, this is only one of the terrific varieties of fragrant daphnes.  The rose daphne, cneorum and D, mezerum and D, retusa are also popular garden shrubs (I will discuss these varieties in future articles).

The winter flower clusters are rose to pink with lighter pink centers.  Flower clusters are often somewhat hidden by the evergreen foliage, but the fragrance is widespread.  The flowers are often cut and used in small arrangements or are placed in floating water arrangements with a few leaves.

Daphne odora marginata has bright green leaves with a yellow margin.  In a severe winter, a few of the evergreen leaves may fall off.  However, there’s no reason to become concerned, because the plant will regain many leaves during the next growing season.  On average, this plant only grows about 3 to 4 feet high, although I have seen some old plants grow twice as large in established gardens.

This variety is a bit fussy in that it needs to be planted where it gets some sun, but needs protection from the hot mid-day sun.  Take time in making your selection of planting locations, because once you have planted it your chances of moving it again are very poor.  This is because the root system tends to be made up of a few large roots and just a few fibrous roots.

All daphnes should be planted in well drained soil.  This one should be planted so the root ball sticks about ½ inch out of the soil (much like we plant Rhododendrons).  Mix compost or other forms of organic humus into the planting soil.

If the green portion of the leaves begin to yellow a bit, that could indicate questionable drainage or the need for feeding.  This is one evergreen that is fed by using a Rose or All purpose-type garden fertilizer.  The best times for feeding is immediately after flowering or in mid-May.  Apply the fertilizer at the drip-line of the plant and water-in thoroughly after application.

If any pruning is required, it is best done after the plant has finished flowering.  You can also prune when the plant is in bloom and use the cut flowers in arrangements.


Entry filed under: Articles. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Clip of the Week: Heeling In Your Plants Ed’s Podcasts: Tool Care

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


February 2011
« Jan   Mar »

Most Recent Posts

%d bloggers like this: