About Fragrant Winter Daphne - Daphne odora

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This article provides information on growing the fragrant Winter Daphne plant - Daphne Odora
by Brett · All Zones · Shrubs · 2 Comments · March 29, 2011 · 15,286 views

Winter Daphne - Daphne OdoraDaphe odora shrub in bloom

With it's graceful form and intoxicating scent, Winter daphne is a superstar of an evergreen flowering shrub. When it begins to bloom in late winter it heralds - with its intoxicating perfume - the promise of spring. The plant is a small, evergreen shrub, reaching about 4 feet in height with an equal spread, though over time I've heard but not seen that the plant can grow twice this large.

The highly fragrant blooms are crystalline white inside and deep purplish-pink outside - a few have solid white blooms. Depending on the weather and zone, Winter Daphne usually bloom from sometime in January through March or April, when not mulch else is blooming. The flowers last well in water. The attractive foliage is glossy green and some have variegated leaves with golden edges.

Winter Daphne are best planted close to a patios, decks, or other sitting areas where its fragrance can be conveniently appreciated. It is not difficult to grow, despite the remarkable variety of gardening myths about its requirements.

Native habitat: Western China; close relatives are found in the Philippines, Japan, and Taiwan. Daphne odora was already being grown in Chinese gardens by the Sung period, 960-1279 AD.

Hardiness: Zones 7a to 9b. We've found Winter Daphne to be very hardy in Zone 8 and easy to grow. We have a plant over 5 years old in our garden.

Soil: Tolerant of most soils, it does not appreciate extremes such as very shallow, chalky soil, poor drainage, etc. Ideally, a well-drained soil is preferred.

Sunlight: Prefers some afternoon shade in warmer southern zones.

Pruning: Does not heal well over cuts into mature wood, so we suggest heavy pruning is best avoided. However, "pinching" the tips of long shoots on the current year's growth makes the plant much bushier and more floriferous.

Feeding: Fertilize Winter Daphne with a well-balanced shrub fertilizer once a year just after it blooms. You may alternatively fertilize with a natural or organic plant food.

Watering: During the summer, it is best not to water winter daphne at all, except during prolonged periods of dry weather. Newly planted ones will, of course, need some water, but go light with the hose. Little or no water for established plants during the dry season should encourage flower production for the following year and help prevent death from molds.

If you could only have one fragrant shrub in your landscape, Daphne Odora would most likely be the choice!

You can buy Winter Daphne - Daphne odora at GardenerDirect.com

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Nikki Cline

Nikki Cline · Gardenality Seedling · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Just a quick note to let you know that I really appreciate these informative articles about different plants. It gives me a much better "feel" for the ones I know little or nothing about than the little plant tags. I do believe I am going to have to find a home for at least one of these!

10 years ago ·
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Gardenality.com · Gardenality Genius · Zone 8A · 10° to 15° F
Thanks! I'm glad you liked this one. Winter Daphne is one of those plants that doesn't look like it would be that tough, but it is. If you're going to get one this year do it soon. There's only one crop of Winter Daphne grown a year. Our nursery and garden center gets them in sometime in January and we're usually sold out by mid-March.

10 years ago ·
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