As you walk around the CountryLife Garden Centre in January there are only a handful of plants that will stop you in your tracks because of the beautiful scent they give off. As I was doing my rounds of the garden center this week checking on plants I was reminded of one fantastic plant. Daphnes are a group of evergreen and deciduous shrubs that have a heavenly scent that seems to linger for hours in the air when the flowers open.
A sweet scent
While daphne shrubs do produce attractive looking berries, which offer great autumn interest in my eyes the real selling point of these plants, is the attractive spring flowers and the sweet scent they give off. Often daphne is a plant that you will smell much sooner than you will notice it in a garden.
The scent has an ability to waft through the air and reach every part of the garden. This said I do like to plant still plant it strategically in a garden so that it is ensured you will brush past it as you make your way around the garden.
Similar to witch hazel, daphne plants flower on last year’s growth so you should be careful with pruning the shrub back too hard in autumn as this may result in very few flowers the following spring. I always recommend that people wait until after the shrub has finished flower before pruning it.
Daphne will work extremely well in either a small garden, as they can be kept small and compact, or in a larger garden where they are allowed to grow in to larger shrubs.
Best place to plant daphne
The most important thing with these plants when planting them is to make sure the ground is free draining as they do not like soil which is prone to water logging. They are very well suited to woodland settings or in a garden under deciduous trees.
Popular verities of daphne
At the moment there are two varieties of daphne that are proving very popular with customers.
Mezereum Rubra (sometimes known as February Daphne) – It has vivid pink flowers that really stand out in a flowerbed in early spring. The flowers appear in early February and last right through to the end of March if not longer. The flowers are then followed by very attractive red berries that look great too.
Odora is another great daphne which has much more subtle pink flowers when compared to Mezereum Rubra. This variety has a very strong fragrance. It is so strong that in In Korea, where the plant is native to, it is called “churihyang” which translates to ’a thousand mile scent’ which gives you a good indication to just how strongly scented the flowers are.
We’re here to help
If you need any help with choosing Daphne’s for your garden or containers talk to any of our horticulturists in store. Ask us about our potting service. We’d love to help.