At this time of the year, I’m grateful for shrubs that flourish in the cold weather. Daphne is one of these and it thrives in the frost, too. Just as well, with all the frosts we are experiencing this year.
There was already a Daphne in my front garden when I moved here and I’ve established a different one in a container. Both are doing well so, if you don’t have space in the ground, try planting a Daphne in a pot. It needs to be large, with room for the plant to expand for several years, because the plant doesn’t like being disturbed.
Location is important. Daphne enjoys full sun in the morning with afternoon shade. I planted Daphne ‘Perfume Princess’ in a pot and, after finding I was giving it too much sun, I moved the pot to the backyard where I’ve balanced it on a tree stump. This way, the pot is elevated and I can better see the pretty flowers.
When planting, mulch with an organic cover such as pea straw, sugar cane mulch or shredded bark to keep the roots cool and then water well. The plants are relatively slow growing, so feed them regularly to encourage strong root growth and encourage flowering. They are evergreen and will flower from winter to spring. Tidy them by regularly removing spent flowers and leaves and, if they grow too tall, prune the trunk to reduce the height and stimulate new branches.
Let’s not forget the perfume that wafts from the flowers; it’s sweet with hints of citrus. When the sun warms the flowers, the scent becomes stronger yet not overpowering. Daphne plants are in our local nurseries now. Choosing from the different varieties available may be difficult but it’s a pleasurable task. If only all decisions were that enjoyable!