How to Grow and Care for Daphne Plant

Daphne plant

Quick Overview

Plant Type: Evergreen
Family: Thymelaeaceae
Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Watering: Regular - moist, drained soil
Colors: White to light pink
Size: 1–5 feet tall, 2–6 feet wide
Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Soil Type: Sandy, Loam
Soil pH: 5.5–6.4 (slightly acidic)
Propagation: By cuttings
Toxicity: Toxic to humans and pets

If you are looking for bright shrubs to add color to your garden, look no further than the Daphne plant. This plant comes in a wide range of colors. With over 70 shrubs in the family, the Daphne plant has something to offer everyone.

While these flowers are appealing, it’s important to know that they can be a bit stubborn. These fun and bright plants need proper care. They are slow-growing so it is important to give them what they need to thrive. The right amount of water depends on how old they are and most varieties do well in partially shaded spots.

With some tender loving care, the Daphne plant will make a nice addition to your garden.

About the Daphne

These plants are native everywhere from Europe to Africa. Their family is made up of over 70 varieties. They are small plants and grow at a slow pace.  At mature size, they will be roughly 1-5 feet tall. The most popular color variations of the Daphne Plant are pink and white.

While they are nice flowers, they can be difficult to care for. They are notorious for dying seemingly out of nowhere. With the right care, these plants can add color to your garden. It is important to follow this guide closely to maintain the health and happiness of your Daphne plant.

Daphne plant

Growing Your Daphne Plant

Even the most experienced gardeners can struggle with growing the Daphne plant. The good news is if you are able to make your plant happy, it won’t give you many problems. When growing these beautiful flowers, it’s helpful to consider it a temporary bloom. Since it can die out of nowhere, it is important to place it in an area that you are comfortable seeing bare at times. Yet, caring for these plants when they are doing well is a simple task.

Your best bet will likely be buying an established Daphne plant from a nursery. Place your new plant in the ground about half an inch higher than it sat in the pot. The roots need room to grow. The secret to a happy Daphne plant is soil and enough room for the roots to grow.

Propagation

Surprisingly enough, propagating the Daphne plant is not a difficult task. But, due to their slow growth rate, it isn’t a route people take often. If you would like to take on the task, take a cutting from your plant between July and September. The newer the growth you cut from the better. You’ll continue to cut the branch until it is in about 4-6 inch pieces. Once you have your cuttings, you’ll place them in a sand and moss mixture. You’ll want to water the potted propagation regularly and keep it in a sunny spot. Once a good amount of new growth has come in, you can transfer your propagations to your garden. Sure, you can buy an established Daphne plant from a nursery, but it won’t be as satisfying as propagating your own!

Daphne plant

Varieties

There are many Daphne plant varieties to choose from. If you are looking for a flower with a strong scent, the winter Daphne is the right choice for you. The negative aspect of the winter Daphne is it is the variety most likely to die without cause. The garland Daphne is another common variety. This is a low-growing plant that blooms in spring. D. x burkwoodii is the third most popular Daphne variety. This species is a hybrid. The popular ‘Carol Mackie’ Daphne plant comes from this hybrid. When choosing a variety of Daphne plants, it is important to keep in mind what each variety brings to the table. Since some can be more stubborn than others, you should consider their needs and behavior before committing to a variety.

Caring For Your Daphne Plant

Watering and Pruning Tips

The amount you water your Daphne plant will depend on how old it is. Within the first year of planting it, you will need to water it often. Watering several times a week during its first year is recommended for the Daphne plant. Once it has matured more, you will need to make sure it gets one inch of water per week. Whether that is from natural rain sources or irregation depends on your environment. These plants need to stay moist and drain well.

These plants need no pruning due to their low and slow growing nature. Not only do they not need any pruning, they actually do not like it. The occasional pruning of damaged branches or overgrowth is acceptable, but anything beyond that may harm the plant. It is best to save pruning for after peak bloom season to preserve your flowers for the following year.

Daphne plant

Fertilizing Your Daphne Plant

Like pruning, fertilizing your Daphne plant is rather easy. It should be done about twice per year. The best time to do so is early spring or mid summer.

Soil and Light

Daphne plants are particular about their soil. They like acidic soil. They do the best with moist soil, especially in the hot summer months. Adding mulch in the summertime can also aid in keeping your Daphne plant moist through the scorching heat. Providing compost to your soil can also make your Daphne plant happy.

Getting the lighting right for your Daphne plant can be a difficult task. The amount of light needed depends most on the variation you have planted. Some can withstand a full-sun spot in your garden. But, most Daphne plants do best in a spot that is partially shaded. If you have a variety that prefers direct sunlight, they can still grow in a somewhat shaded spot in your yard. The flowers may be a bit smaller in size, but it takes the guesswork out of it. Look to place your Daphne plant in an area with part shade.

Climate

Given the vast variety of the areas it is native to, Daphne plants are adaptable to different climates. They tolerate humidity well and can thrive in many climate zones. As long as they are provided with moist soil and some sunlight, they can grow in many climates. However, the colder the environment the more likely the plant will be damaged. The Daphne plant is known to experience winter damage easily.

Toxicity

While you may be on board to take on the task of growing the stubborn Daphne plant, it is important to note that these plants are highly toxic. Both pets and people are at risk of poisoning from these plants. All parts of this plant are toxic when consumed. The berries are the most toxic part of the plant. Eating these berries pose a great risk to the animals and small children in your life. If you are planning on growing these small and fragrant flowers, keep them away from areas your pets and kids play. It is always recommended to watch your fury and small friends while they explore outside.

Symptoms of poisoning by Daphne plants are burning and pain in mouth, vomiting, and diarrhea. In extreme cases, some people and pets see kidney damage, irregular heartbeat, coma, and death. Please be mindful when placing the Daphne plant in your garden. As long as you are mindful of the risk and practice safety precautions, these are nice plants to have in your garden.

white flower

Facts About the Daphne Plant

These plants can attract several pests. Aphids, mealybugs, and scale have all been known to infest the Daphne plant. Other than that, there isn’t much upkeep to do. Aside from the random bouts of death, these plants are fairly easy to grow and maintain.

These plants bloom in the spring. When you have a happy and healthy Daphne plant, you will experience bright and fragrant blooms. The different varieties grow at different rates. Some can take up to ten years to reach maturity. Do not take it personally if your Daphne plant grows at a slow rate or dies suddenly. These plants can be a bit unpredictable.

In Summary

The Daphne plant may not be the best choice for a first time gardener. More experienced gardeners have struggled to keep these plants alive! If you are willing to take on the challenge, a happy Daphne plant can fill your garden with great smelling pink and white flowers. They are often slow to mature and require some patience when first planted. Buying an established plant from a local nursery or garden center can save you the waiting game. There is something special about propagating your own, though!

When deciding to add a Daphne plant to your garden, it is important to remember the risk that comes with it. If you have animals or children who like to roam around your garden space, it is not advised to have these plants where they can reach them. If you have an area that they can be protected from, plant away!

Do you have a friend with a green thumb that can take on growing these unpredictable flowers? Send them this article! Be sure to share on social media if you found this guide helpful!