United States Edition

Winter daphne

Daphne odora

Winter daphne is part of the Daphne genus and its scientific name is Daphne odora. Winter daphne grows as an evergreen and is a flower / ornamental. Being an evergreen plant, it will keep its leaves throughout the year. Winter daphne normally grows with a shrub-like habit to a mature height of 75.0 cm (that's 2.44 feet imperial). Expect blooming to occur in late winter. Aureomarginata, Zuiko Nishiki, Mae-jima, Alba and Marginata are some of the most popular varieties of Winter daphne for home gardeners to grow.

Typically, Winter daphne is normally fairly low maintenance and can thus be quite easy to grow - only a basic level of care is required throughout the year to ensure it thrives. Being aware of the basic growing conditions this plant likes (soil, sun and water) will result in a strong and vibrant plant.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Winter daphne have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Winter daphne

  • Partial Sun

  • Low

Publication Date: Friday Sep 16, 1994,
Sweet, difficult daphne
Don’t even try growing daphne in anything other than well-drained soil
by Diane Sussman (1)

QPlease, none of you who write or talk about garden care ever mention daphne, and I get conflicting opinions from nurseries. Depending on my most recent experience, I try a bit of everything. My poor plant struggles on in spite of me, not because of me. Is daphne an acid-loving plant? AThe plant that is baffling you in your garden is named for Daphne, the nymph changed by Apollo into Laurus nobilis, the bay tree. Alas, it is a shrub so beautifully fragrant, yet so difficult to grow. There are many forms of daphne, from small rock garden types to medium-sized mounding shrubs. Yet regardless of type, they all have certain requirements in common: the need for a fast draining soil and infrequent summer watering.

The most commonly found landscape variety is Daphne odora, or Winter Daphne. This mounding evergreen shrub typically reaches to 4 feet tall, but can become larger if grown in the correct environment. The leaves of this daphne are about three inches long and somewhat thick and glossy. A variegated form, Daphne odora “Marginata,” has creamy, yellow-edged leaves.

The real attraction of this plant is the wonderful fragrance produced by small clusters of pink flowers in February and March.

Daphnes are susceptible to a number of different pathogens when grown in the wrong environment. Therefore, a few planting and cultural guidelines must be followed carefully.

First, the soil must drain extremely well.

Let me repeat that. The soil must drain extremely well.

That eliminates purchasing a plant from the nursery and just sticking it in the ground. The clay soils of our area drain far too slowly.

To plant daphne, dig a hole twice as wide as the rootball, equal in depth, or a little higher, in the center and sloping deeper along the outer edges. Imagine the plant sitting on an island in the middle of the hole. The island prevents the plant from settling below the existing soil level, and allows for drainage away from the rootball. The backfill soil should have no less than 50 percent coarse bark added to allow for good drainage.

Planting on a mound a little above the existing grade also works. This is an excellent example of the $50 hole for a $5 plant.

The location of your daphne should be protected from the hot midday sun, but not in dense shade. Keep the roots cool with a layer of mulch, but don’t bury the crown of the plant.

Daphnes like a neutral soil with a pH of around 7.0. They are not acid-loving. Feed with a balanced fertilizer after they have bloomed.

Pruning should also be done right after bloom, because the next year’s flowers bloom from the new growth.

The other important thing to remember is not to overwater during the summer. Keeping your daphne on the dry side—although not wilting—encourages better bloom and prevents root rot. Daphnes also do well in large containers. Create a well-drained planting mix that has about 50 percent soil and 50 percent coarse bark.

You may need to pay a little closer attention to daphne than most of your other landscape plants. But when that beautiful fragrance catches your nose in the early spring, you’ll know it was all worthwhile.

A partial sun position will ensure your plant thrives and remember to apply water fairly sparingly. Zone 7 to 8 are typically the USDA Hardiness Zones that are appropriate for this plant (although this can vary based on your microclimate). Winter daphne requires a loamy soil with a ph of 5.5 - 7.5 - it grows best in weakly acidic soil - weakly alkaline soil. Keep in mind when planting that Winter daphne is thought of as half hardy, so it will need cloching or fleece protection when the temperature dips.

See our list of companion Plants for Winter daphne to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Winter daphne from seed

Transplanting Winter daphne

likes morning sun and afternoon shade, but tolerates a variety of light conditions. Needs good drainage. Do not overwater.

Ensure that temperatures are mild and all chance of frost has passed before planting out, as Winter daphne is a half hardy plant.

Harvesting Winter daphne


Common Winter daphne problems

These problems, diseases and pests are known to affect Winter daphne plants:

Other names for Winter daphne

Fragrant daphne, february daphne, Daphne

Winter daphne care instructions

How long does Winter daphne take to grow?

These estimates for how long Winter daphne takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world. Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!


(1) Publication Date: Friday Sep 16, 1994 ,
Sweet, difficult daphne Don’t even try growing daphne in anything other than well-drained soil.,by Diane Sussman

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