DAPHNE

These dwarf to medium-sized, hardy shrubs, evergreen or deciduous, have large clusters of flared, tubular, highly-scented flowers. The flowers are usually pink or reddish-purple, but can be white or yellow-green.

Suitable site and soil. All good, well-drained soils are suitable, with some moisture, but not wetness. All except D. blagayana which requires shade, should have some sun or light shade.

Cultivation and care. Plant in spring. Cover the root area of all except D. blagayana and D. cneorum with flat stones for a cool root run. Root their branches by burying them in peaty, 62 sandy compost so that just the terminal clusters of leaves show or they can become straggly and short lived.

Propagation. Take semi-ripe cuttings of side shoots in late summer in 50 – 50 sand and peat mixture in a cold frame. Pot up the following spring and plant out after two years. Sow seeds as soon as ripe, leave in a cold frame and keep moist.

Recommended varieties. D. blagayana is a mat-forming, deciduous shrub with creamy-white flowers in spring (height 30cm – 12in). D. x burkwoodii (height 90cm – 3ft) is semi-evergreen with pink flowers in late spring. D. cneorum is a mat-forming, evergreen with rose-pink flowers in late spring (height 15cm – 6in). D. mezermm (height 90cm – 3ft) is a deciduous shrub with rose-pink flowers in early spring.

Pests and diseases. Rare, viral stunting and distorting.

Cover the branches of D. cneorum with compost to layer them. This is an example of mound layers but in the case of daphnes, it is used to promote the long life, and appearance, of the plant rather than for propagation purposes.

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