Daphne odora or Sweet Winter Daphne is a prize in the winter landscape. It’s the sweetest smelling plant you will find in the garden this month. Fragrant and also nice looking; forming a shrub to about 3′ high, it requires bright shade and excellent drainage. (We suggest a container with orchid bark mixed into the potting soil to improve drainage.)
Daphne comes in a few different forms, but the Daphne odora, “Aureo-marginata” is our favorite. Its leaves are delicately edged in cream. The leaves do a nice job of framing the dark pink buds.
Daphne needs perfect drainage, but it should not go dry. This may seem an impossible combination… let’s just say it needs both air and water. Experienced gardeners say it’s not as finicky as gardenias. One plant was observed suffering when it transitioned from hand watering “as needed” to automatic sprinklers that water all the time whether needed or not. It’s better to water by hand.
Daphne is rewarding and definitely worth a try. Come smell for yourself. It’s on display now.