Daphne is highly prized for its prolific show of dense, deliciously fragrant flowers in late winter to spring. Daphne odora is the most commonly grown Daphne in Australia. It forms a dense, low shrub of 1m with thick leathery dark green leaves. It can be shaped or hedged, is a perfect accompaniment to a cottage garden or rockery, and grows well in a pot.
They should be positioned in a sheltered position that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. They would do well where shade tolerant azaleas and camellias grow. They need to be protected from drying hot winds. As the fragrance is so enticing, position near windows or doors, even near a seat in the garden. The scent can waft through the house or be enjoyed when relaxing outside.
It can be easier to manage the needs of Daphne by growing it in a pot. Plant into a large pot with premium or azalea and camellia potting mix. Lift the pot off the ground with bricks or pot feet to ensure good drainage, mulch well and check regularly to ensure the soil is moist. One benefit of growing in a pot is the ability to move the pot around throughout the year, ensuring that is it chases the morning sun, avoids the afternoon sun and is in the best position to enjoy its fragrance when in bloom.
Daphnes prefer rich, well drained, slightly acid soil that will remain cool and moist. Improve soil before planting to ensure good moisture holding capacity and structure. Improving the soil will also add nutrients to support plant growth. Mulch well to keep the root zone cool and moist during summer and avoid disturbing the roots once established.
Consistent moisture is important for the health of Daphnes, as too little water prevents growth and too much can cause root rot. Test the soil to check if it is damp before watering. Less water will encourage more blooms in winter and spring. Daphnes will tolerate short periods of dry conditions better than having wet feet.
Fertilise with a quality slow release fertiliser, such as Troforte or Grow Safe, as per instructions throughout the year. Give a top up with liquid feed when blooming.
The shrub can be pruned lightly after flowering to the desired shape or to take cuttings for propagation.
Please note that this is intended as general information only. Please ask one of our qualified horticulturists for more specific advice for your situation.
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