Daphne – Popular Shrubs for the Garden

Daphne mezereum


The daphne most usually seen is our native Daphne mezereum, the Mezereon, now rare as a native plant, but easily obtainable from nurseries. It is an old ‘cottage garden’ plant, grown for the sake of its sweetly-scented purplish-red flowers, that smother the twigs in February and March and often into April. Round red fruits follow in autumn and these provide a ready means of increase. It grows about 4 feet tall, tolerating most soils, except very dry ones, and it does well on the chalk and in partially shaded situations.

There is a fine white-flowered variety alba, a pink form rosea, and a form, grandiflora, producing larger flowers a good deal earlier.

Not all daphnes are so easy to grow. Daphne X burkwoodii, a semi-evergreen hybrid, about 3 feet tall, with very fragrant pale pink flowers in May and June, is not at all difficult.

Daphne odora aureo-marginata It is also worth trying the variegated leaf form, Daphne odora aureo-marginata. This is harder than the species and is an evergreen, slow-growing to perhaps 3 feet, although much depends on soil and situation. Like other exotic daphnes, it prefers a well-drained, though moisture-retaining loam. Peat and leaf-mould dug in before planting may do something towards ensuring success with this aristocratic plant, although shelter from frosts and cutting winds is probably more important. Daphne odora aureo-marginata

None of the daphnes described here requires pruning, unless it is to remove frost-killed wood.

14. October 2010 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Herbaceous Plants, Plants & Trees | Tags: , | Comments Off on Daphne – Popular Shrubs for the Garden


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