Q&As/Flowering Shrubs and Trees/Growing Daphne

Question

I was given a Daphne in late 2016. Planted it facing east, however it did not do well so I put it in a pot in April this year with potting mix and a bit of acid fertiliser. Unfortunately, it is giving up. I love Daphne, what am I doing wrong? 

Answer

In general terms, Daphne are not the easiest of shrubs to cultivate. They are incredibly rewarding with their perfume during winter months, but quite often a difficult plant to establish in the garden.

Part of the problem lies in the method of production before they reach the garden centre. They are often field grown in nurseries and then dug up and potted for sale. Daphne do not like root disturbance and often can be seen in some garden centers with yellow leaves, leaves falling or the leaves in a drooping position.

Selection of a very healthy specimen at the time of purchase is critical. In the garden, they have a preference for well-drained soil, rich in compost and in a position receiving good light, but not baking in hot summer sun.

Once established, Daphne will thrive requiring only a moderate amount of attention. Daphne Odora Rubra is by far the most successful home garden species. While they can be grown in containers, ensure the container is large enough for full root development and has sufficient drainage holes to avoid the potting mix becoming sodden.

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