DAPHNE continued
last updated 19/12/2014

Daphne albowiana DAPHNE albowiana 
An extremely well behaved small evergreen shrub growing to less than a metre tall by a little more wide. With large glossy green leaves it is very similar to D. pontica although we find it actually does better. Unusual yellow spidery flowers in April (just before D. pontica) followed by red berries. Best in a shady site.

NEW DAPHNE altaica

NEW DAPHNE blagayana 'Brenda Anderson'

DAPHNE 'Fragrant Cloud' CD&R 626
A  wild derivative of D. acutiloba, introduced from China by Martyn Rix, the beautiful white flowers in April remind me more of D. blagayana, since they are much larger than most Daphnes. The plant however, is quite upright growing and the evergreen leaves are much larger. The scent is intoxicating. Proving to be well behaved for us, though happier in a shady site, I believe that this showy plant has a fantastic future.

NEWDaphne laureola DAPHNE laureola 
This is actually a native, being widespread along woodland margins. It is therefore shade tolerant, and indeed will do better in a shady site. The curious yellow-green flowers are clustered beneath the dark green leaves in February-March. Black berries.

NEW DAPHNE mezereum Bowles White 
A selected form of the above.

NEW DAPHNE wolongensis 'Guardsman'
This species from the Sichuan province in China has only recently been described and named and this selection is a fabulous plant. It is very distinctly upright (hence the name) with small glossy, dark evergreen leaves. The flowers are smaller than some, but a wonderful rich pink, clothing the stems in early spring. It really works for me! 

Daphne odora
and its cultivars

The name tells it all! Only it is not an odour so much as the most beguiling and exquisite perfume which will waft across the garden on a warm spring day…

Daphne odora and its cultivars have to be one of the most sweetly scented of all flowering shrubs. I am often asked whether all forms have as wonderful a perfume, and the answer is an emphatic “Yes!”

The flowers are a rich deep purple in bud and open to almost white, creating a wonderful contrast. The green leaved species is rarely grown as it is not as hardy as the more popular variegated forms. The archetypal D. odora 'Aureamarginata' has a narrow gold margin around the glossy green leaves. All these plants (indeed most of the shrubby evergreen daphnes) are essentially woodland plants. They like a partially or even completely shaded site and a constant moisture level. Try them on the edge of woodland or amongst deciduous shrubs. It will flower there before the other plants come into leaf. As with all daphnes, they hate to be too wet in winter but they also detest getting too hot and drying out in summer. This is the secret to their success. A good thick mulch over their roots is spring will help keep the soil moist and cool (but don’t bank the soil up against the stem as it can cause collar rot.

In a suitably shady site, these are not difficult plants to grow and will reward you with their fragrance.

DAPHNE odora 'Aureamarginata' 
Dark pink buds open to pale pink flowers in March which are wonderfully fragrant. The glossy dark green leaves are narrowly margined yellow. This must be one of the most sought after of all flowering shrubs.

DAPHNE odora 'Maejima'
I've often seen this described as "the most dramatically variegated Daphne yet"...which may be stretching the point, but it certainly has great colour. The rich deep green leaves have a broad margin of golden yellow. I find that there is a penalty to pay for the stronger variegation, and that's its lesser vigour as a result. Of course that may be an advantage if you want to keep the size down. Expect around 1m in all directions given time.

DAPHNE pontica hybrid
This Daphne came to us as D. pontica and indeed we sold it as such last year. However, it has now flowered and those flowers were not quite spidery enough to be true pontica. They are more like the "typical" Daphne flower in shape and a delightful greeny yellow in colour. They are produced in April-May and were also quite definitely scented. Blue black fruits. Sometimes referred to as the "Evening Daphne" it is moth pollinated, so will give best scent in a west facing site - ie in evening sun. The leaves are pontica like in shape but a particularly healthy deep green in colour. It must be a hybrid from pontica, but we are not yet certain what with! However, it remains an exceptionally fine plant being unusually tolerant of heavy shade and heavy clay! The spidery yellow flowers in April-May are very attractive. 

DAPHNE retusa 
Surprisingly unavailable, this rewarding dwarf evergreen is very slow growing and compact. The flowers are strong pink in bud, opening white tinged purple on the outside. They occur in clusters in May-June. Sun or light shade. Very similar to D. tangutica, but smaller. Expect 60cm in all directions, but it may take 20 years! Due to the slower growing nature of this plant, they are small when you receive them. Consider whether this is the right plant for you, or whether the more vigorous and better behaved D. tangutica would be more appropriate. If in doubt, please discuss with me.

Daphne tangutica DAPHNE tangutica 
One of the best Daphnes for the beginner! It is relatively tolerant of most sites, though it prefers light shade, and freely produces masses of fragrant white flowers, tinged purple in April. More flowers from June until the frosts. Red berries.

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