Daphne Bush

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Miry, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Miry

    Miry Member

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    Location:
    Gibsons BC Canada
    I planted my daphne bush last spring and it is starting to flower right now. There are not too many leaves on the bush.

    Is this the way it is?

    The scent of the flower is unbelievable.
     

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  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Looks like Dapne odora which is evergreen and should have more leaves on it that your pictures show. Daphnes are prone to root rot which causes numerous failures, maybe yours is infested or it is having other problems.
     
  3. czygyny

    czygyny Member

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    I agree that something is wrong with your Daphne. It looks pale and the leaves look stretched out. In my climate (hot! California summers) mine stays in semi-shade and I always grow mine in pots due to the root sensitivities and the fact that gophers LOVE the roots. It needs perfect drainage, like rhododendrons.

    Offhand I don't know the pH soil needs of Daphne, but I do feed mine with an acid bloom type of Miraclegro. Your soil may not be of a suitable pH.

    And, yes...the smell is heavenly! Mine bloomed around three weeks early this year, we're enjoying our spring weather now.

    The images show my mature Daphne in a 19" clay pot planted with a mix of 50% rich potting soil and 50% loam. Once they like their conditions they do grow well. You might want to try growing it in a pot. Take a couple of cuttings and root them in water (slow but it works) if you repot...they don't like the root disturbance.

    Test your soil. Provide excellent drainage. Protect from gophers. Give some sun but definitely afternoon shade. Keeing it in a pot also allows you to grow it to a perfect summer place and then move closer to your walkway when it is in bloom)

    (P.S. I just read my Western Garden book, it says it likes a soil pH of 7.0, and not to use acid fertilizer...oops...so don't use it!)
     

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  4. Miry

    Miry Member

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    Your plants look absolutely stunning.

    Are you saying I can't dig it up and move it?

    I do have two other ones and they are both doing about the same. You would think then it is the soil. I have one plant in the front and the other one is near the garage.

    Is there something I should add to the soil to help these plants along.
     
  5. czygyny

    czygyny Member

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    Transplanting is tricky with Daphne. I'm not saying it won't work (after all you bought it in a pot and transplanted it into the ground and it lived) but they don't like their roots disturbed. Sometimes you can do everything right and they still die. This is the second bush in this particular pot. The other one just, pffft, died for no reason. This one is about nine years old now. This is one reason I usually keep a couple of cuttings a year whenever I bring some flowering sprigs inside to enjoy in a jar of water for a month or two to root. Rooting with other methods may work faster but this one is an easy way to make more. I have three one-gallon offspring from this bush right now.

    I would find out if your soil is of the proper pH for Daphne to see if it needs any special amendments but first of all I would just give it a good dose of liquid fertilizer to green up the leaves. It may be the exposure the plants are getting, too, I am not familiar with your climate. They seem to be reasonably cold hardy but I'm used to scalding hot summers which figures into adaptability, too. You summers may stay cool enough for it to need more sun.

    It is a finicky plant, but so-o worth it when it blooms. Nothing is quite like the heady fragrance of a Daphne in the cold of winter. (at least for me, it blooms in February)
     
  6. Miry

    Miry Member

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    Thanks for your input. I will give them a good dose of liquid fertilizer and see what happens.

    How did you cut the sprigs for rooting. Do you do it when it is in bloom or some other time.

    Gibsons is on the coast near Vancouver BC so we do get a lot of rain. As far as snow goes, we usually don't get any or if we do it pretty well melts after it lands. We did, however, get a big dump not too long ago which is very unusual.
     
  7. czygyny

    czygyny Member

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    Your Daphne may be staying too moist in too heavy of soil. Also, rainy places often have acid soils. This may have some bearing on the health of your plant. Look for an inexpensive soil testing kit at a local garden center to know for sure. Ask them what is available in your area to change the pH to a better level if it is acid. Anything that improves drainage may help. For instance, where I grow cacti in the ground I have mixed sharp sand and fine gravel down to a foot to make it drain quickly...a bit drastic for your situation but it gives you an idea of what I mean.

    Daphne is rated down to Western Garden zone 4, it sounds like your place stays warm enough in the winter.

    Of course if you decided to pot them (preferably in plain clay for the roots to 'breathe') you won't have to worry as much.

    As far as the cuttings, I cut when it is in flower...maybe a three to four inch long stem and after the flowers fade I put the jar in a window or under a plant light until they get a good root system going. Its primitive but it works.
     

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