Even though some varieties are a bit difficult to grow, when we can make a Daphne happy, they reward us many times a year! They all emit a powerful fragrance into the air, adding a heavenly quality to our outdoor spaces. Some bloom in mid winter, some in spring, and some even bloom once in spring and twice in summer. Perfect! Here are some different cultivars that make our 'Best' list.
Daphne x transatlantica 'Jim's Pride'
Jim's Pride' is one of the best garden daphnes available. Its most outstanding quality is its amazingly long blooming time, often blooming for over six months. Very fragrant, champagne-white flowers with an apple blossom flush are borne in clusters at the branch tips. Flowering begins in early April and can continue as late as November. Ours comes on in waves...late spring, mid summer, and then late summer. Young plants will quickly grow into a compact, fine-textured mound. It has small, grey-green leaves. In cold winters it is completely deciduous, in average winters it retains about half its leaves. Daphnes can be slow to establish, often settling in the first year then growing the next. With 'Jim's Pride', it is well worth the wait!
Blooming in mid winter, this daphne has a very powerful nutmeg/honeysuckle perfume that wafts on the air in January. The plant is a bit leggy, but when in full bloom, it is so very striking! Summer pruning will help the habit, but who cares when your outdoor areas smell like heaven.
Daphne x Medfordensis 'Lawrence Crocker'
One of the cutest plants in our gardens, 'Lawrence Crocker' makes a perfect half-dome mound of small green leaves. The plant is evergreen here in zone 8, and blooms profusely in mid summer and into the fall. We often are asked how often we prune this plant, and the truth is, we never have.
Daphne × burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie'
This daphne hybrid is a cross between D. cneorum and D. caucasica. 'Carol Mackie' is most noted for its outstanding variegated foliage. It is a dense, slow-growing, deciduous shrub which typically grows 2-3' tall with a rounded, mounding habit. Features fragrant clusters of pale pink flowers in late spring. Oblong, grayish-green leaves (to 2" long) have striking, cream-edged margins, and the foliage often persists well into December.
Daphne odora 'Winter Blooming Daphne'
The common name Winter or Fragrant Daphne. Pink buds in January open to light pink flowers in February and March. The scent is so thick that on warmer days it can envelop a neighborhood. A native of China, the Daphne has long been grown in Southern gardens, often in close association with camellias. The Daphne odora or winter daphne is an attractive, tightly mounding evergreen shrub with bright green, glossy leaves; some varieties have a pale yellow margin around the leaf. In the South, the daphne will reach a mature height of 3 to 4 feet with a similar spread making it an excellent landscape plant for areas with partial shade.
Daphne x transatlantica 'Eternal Fragrance'
This recent Daphne introduction offers soft pale-pink blossoms in abundance in spring, then again in late summer into fall. The flowers are quite fragrant, filling the air with sweet perfume. Great for containers as well as a partially shaded spot in the garden. Deciduous below 0 degrees F.