Monday, January 19, 2009

Caucasian Daphne

Caucasian Daphne
Daphne caucasica
(DAF-nee) (kaw-KAS-ee-kuh)

This little flower was blooming on November 1st, which is pretty late for this area. I am not going to recommend Daphne for most gardeners. My experience is that they are difficult to grow and prone to sudden death. If you approach them with the attitude they you are going to possibly lose them then go ahead. Their fragrance is one of the best in the garden.

This plant was bought by a client at a plant sale as Daphne caucasica but I still have my doubts. Selecting an area with lean, neutral pH soil and above excellent drainage is important. They like a little shade during the winter. I like mounding them up a little and try to keep the summer watering to a minimum.

There is a variegated form called ‘Carol Mackie’ (Daphne x burkwoodii) that is a little easier to grow. It is a cross between D. cneorum and D. caucasica. We have been growing a couple patches of that and it seems to be a little more perennial than some of the other species. Sometimes after a cold winter they are completely defoliated and look dead but they usually releaf and look good fairly quickly in the spring. My favorite of the over 75 species is Rose Daphne (Daphne cneorum) but I have given up growing it.


Sara Chapman in Seattle said...

Hi Chris,

I've had excellent luck growing daphne odorata variegata (probably spelling it wrong) both in Seattle and in Sonoma Co., California. Yes, a bit of shade in afternoons is appreciated, and I actually do an acid fertilizer once or twice a year, due to ignorance, as I thought that was what it wanted, but so far, so good. The scent is just heaven. Lovely photo, as usual.

Laerte Pupo said...

Great! Thanks for sharing!
Very nice small white flower.