This fragrant plant will be a delight and can still flower into October

Daphne - shutterstock_261801668.jpg

Daphne are one of those essential and beautiful shrubs that everyone should try to grow for their pervasive sweet scent.

There’s nothing quite like them, flowering as they do from early in the year to early summer and beyond with newer varieties, such as ‘Eternal Fragrance’.

The scent is rich and luscious, without being cloying. They’re also diverse in habit, tall and upright, mound forming to spreading shrublets. Different species and varieties are variously evergreen, semi-evergreen to deciduous, and there are a number of variegated forms available, some brightly marked in cream or yellow.

Remember, the stronger the variegation, the less vigorous the variety will be. The fragrant flowers are distinctive, formed from clusters of small, four-petalled waxy blossoms from white to deep pink or purple. Some are greeny-yellow, while a few very of the uncommon ones are yellow.

Daphnes generally do better in neutral soil, rather than those strongly acid or alkaline, but they must have moist, but well-drained conditions. They won’t thrive in soil constantly wet, particularly in winter, or ground that dries out in summer. If using a mulch use gravel rather than organic types, as they can trap moisture around the neck of the plant. Once their deep, fleshy roots have established they’re more tolerant of drier conditions. Most require dappled shade although some, such as D. odora will tolerate full sun, as long as they don’t get too dry. They also don’t like being heavily pruned or being moved as their deep, but fairly sparse, root systems hate being disturbed. Find a good spot though, and you’ll find daphne are worth their weight in gold, or Chanel perfume at least!