Growing Daphne

Latest Update 14th December 2014.

  • Binomial Name:                                        Daphne Odora.
  • Family:                                                    Thymelaeaceae
  • Garden bed type:                                      Drip line irrigated. 
  • Recommended soil pH:                             5.5 - 6.4.  
  • Plant Spacings (centres):                          1000 mm.  
  • Height x width.                                         1000 x 1000 mm.
  • Climate:                                                   Warm Temperate.
  • Geography:                                              Southern Hemisphere. 
  • Daphne are said to be difficult to grow and last only 8-10 years before succumbing to old age.  
  • I have tended to ignore my Daphne in all but regular light watering and a bit of compost every year.  Despite this they prosper, covering themselves with extraordinary scented flowers every winter.  The older of my two plants has been around for about 20 years.
  • They are both shaded by a south facing fence except in summer when the sun is high enough to reach them.  However, they live under the canopy of my apricot tree so the summer sun is filtered at its hottest around midday.
Growing Conditions:
  • They like partial shade.  Dappled sunlight under a tree's canopy is ideal. Some say they do best sheltered by an east facing fence with morning sun and shaded under the canopy of a tree in summer.
  • A light frost is not a problem for Daphne, but they should be protected against heavy frosts.
  • I have not been troubled by pests or diseases on my Daphne.
  • They like active organic soil, but apart from an annual dressing of compost and mulch, don't like strong fertilisers much.
  • They don't like root disturbance, and relocating them as a mature plant is not recommended.
  • They don't like too much water around their roots, but shouldn't be allowed to dry out completely.
  • A well drained, well watered, raised garden bed with plenty of organic matter in the soil and located under the canopy of a small tree are ideal conditions for planting a new Daphne shrub.
Feed the Soil.  
  • In September, remove old mulch, fallen leaves and other decaying organic material.  Dispose of them in the compost heap.   
  • Add a 60mm layer of home made compost on top of the soil and cover with fresh straw mulch.
Growing Instructions  
  • Propagate Daphne from stem cuttings in early summer.  
  • Cut a 100mm length of stem carrying new growth just below a node, and strip the stem leaving only 2 leaves at the growing tip.  Plant the cutting 50mm deep in a Mini Ecobed where the soil is moist and biologically active.
  • In Autumn prepare a bed for the cutting.
  • Remove any spent mulch or other organic materials from the surface of the soil, and add a 60mm layer of home made compost covered with fresh straw mulch.
  • Once the Daphne cutting is established and has grown to about 150mm above soil level, remove the mulch from the prepared bed and dig up the cutting taking as large a soil/root ball as possible .  Plant it in the prepared bed with the top of the root ball level with the surface of the soil.
  • Apply a foliar spray of aerated compost tea in early spring and early autumn.
  • Lightly prune your Daphne in spring once flowering has finished.
 Organic Pest Control.
  • Aphids (greenfly).  
    • Aerated compost tea is very effective against aphids.
    • Alternatively, control any infestations by spray your plant thoroughly with organic horticultural oil as soon as you become aware of them.
  • General.
    • Regular foliar sprays of aerated compost tea help Daphne maintain good leaf condition and repel airborne pests and diseases.
    • A top dressing of home made compost in spring will help build the plant's resistance to soil borne pests and diseases.

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