daphne

The sweet smell that wafts through the air in February and March can be attributed to only a few plants, one of them being Daphne.

An old garden favorite, Daphne odora, or Winter Daphne is a plant no yard should be without. While Winter Daphne is justly famous, she has a few sisters you should get to know.

Here are some of our favorites:

Daphne bholua

Daphne bholua: Lokta or Paper Daphne

Pale pink extremely fragrant flowers in late winter and long narrow evergreen leaves.

Grows to be very large, 8’ tall in Portland, 30’+ in it’s native Nepal where it is used as a plant for paper production. For more on paper production, see Lokta Paper Craft.

Sun-part shade, Z7-9

daphne_odora

Daphne odora: Winter 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. Leaves are evergreen & leathery. There are many varieties of Daphne odora and all of them have the same beautifully scented flowers. The main difference is the leaf color, and there may be a slight difference in size as well - here are some of our favorites:

‘Marginata’ has a slight cream-colored edge to the leaves. The new growth is heavy, so when it rains (as it does a lot in Portland) the branches splay a bit and lay down, which results in a plant that is very wide. A mature plant is 3-4' x 4-6'.

'Maijima' is a new introduction with thick creamy edges on the leaves. Reportedly it's a bit smaller - 3-4' x 3-4'.

Daphne odora ‘Zuiko Nishiki’

Daphne odora ‘Zuiko Nishiki’

‘Zuiko Nishiki’ has solid green leaves, and stiffer branching, so it's less likely to droop like 'Marginata'. Grows 4' x 4'.

All Winter Daphnes grow best in morning or dappled sun. It's enough light to produce good flowering but not so much that their leaves burn. In hot afternoon sun leaves look horrendous! Z7-9  

Daphne  'Lawrence Crocker'

Daphne ‘Lawrence Crocker’ (D. arbuscula x D. collina)

This little Daphne just gives and gives. Fragrant, purple/mauve flower clusters bloom from spring thru fall once the plant is established. Leaves are evergreen and narrow, about 1-2” long. The plant is a nice little shrubby thing growing only to 12”x12”. It is the perfect addition to a rock garden or container. Adequate drainage in the soil is essential to survival, so allow for it and don't over-water.

Sun, part shade – zones 6-9 

Daphne transatlantica (D. caucasica x D. collina)

We may have saved the best for last. This is group of easy Daphnes! We carry several varieties of D. transatlantica - all have pale pink buds and white flowers that bloom several times each year, from April-October. They are semi-evergreen, so in warm winters they hold most of the leaves, but in harsher NW winters they'll shed part of the foliage. Some variation occurs in the leaves and growth habits - here's a synopsis.

 Daphne transatlantica 'Eternal Fragrance'
Daphne transatlantica 'Eternal Fragrance'

Daphne Eternal Fragrance'

Leaves are deep glossy green, 2" and convex. Flowers are a bit larger than other D. transatlanticas. Grows 2-3'x2-3'.

Daphne 'Jim's Pride'

This variety can be hard to come by, but is worth listing. 'Jim's Pride' can be a little persnickety while getting established, but those who persevere are rewarded with flowers for six months, blue-green leaves and an easy-care plant that's around 4' x 4'.

Daphne transatlantica 'Summer Ice'
Daphne transatlantica 'Summer Ice'

Daphne 'Summer Ice'

Leaves have a creamy edge, adding to the frosty look year round. Blooms its heart out! Grows to about 3-4’ tall and wide.

Sun or part shade, appreciates improved drainage like any Daphne but thrives with a bit of neglect. Hardy in zones 5-9.

Find the Perfect Shrubs for your garden

Read up on some of our favorite shrubs and remember, this is only a smattering of the variety of shrubs we carry all year long! Note: Viewing a Native Plant will take you into our Native Plant section.

Abelia

Abelia

Natives

Arbutus: Pacific Madrone

Natives

Cornus sericea

Red Twig Dogwood
Natives

Corylus cornuta

Beaked Hazelnut
decid-rhod

Deciduous Azalea

Bamboo

Phyllostachys: Bamboo

Banana

Banana

Buddleia

Buddleia: Butterfly Bush

Callicarpa

Callicarpa: Beautyberry

Camellia

Camellia

Ceanothus

Ceanothus

Natives

Native Ceanothus: Wild Lilac

Chaenomeles

Chaenomeles

Flowering Quince
Chimonanthus

Chimonanthus: Wintersweet

Clethra

Clethra: Summersweet

Perennials

Coprosma: Mirror Plant

Cornus

Cornus: Red Twig Dogwood

Corylopsis

Corylopsis: Winter Hazel

Corylus

Corylus: Filberts & Hazels

Cotinus

Cotinus: Smoke Tree

Daphne

Daphne

Edgeworthia

Edgeworthia

Chinese Paper Bush
Elaeagnus

Elaeagnus

Silverberry & Goumi Berry
Gardenia

Hardy Gardenia

Natives

Gaultheria shallon: Salal

Hamamelis

Hamamelis: Witch Hazel

Heathers

Heathers & Heaths

Hebe

Hebe

Hedges

Hedges

Natives

Holodiscus: Oceanspray

Hydrangea

Hydrangea

Itea

Itea: Sweetspire

Lagerstroemia

Lagerstroemia: Crape Myrtle

Lonicera

Lonicera: Honeysuckle

Natives

Mahonia: Oregon Grape

Natives

Osmaronia: Indian Plum

Palms

Hardy Palm

Natives

Philadelphus: Mock Orange

Bamboo

Phyllostachys: Bamboo

Physocarpus

Physocarpus: Ninebark

Natives

Native Physocarpus

Western Ninebark
Punica

Punica: Pomegranate

Natives

Rhamnus: Cascara

Ribes

Ribes: Currant

Natives

Native Ribes: Wild Currant

Natives

Rosa: Wild Rose

Natives

Rubus: Salmonberry

Willow

Salix: Willow

Sambucus

Sambucus: Elderberry

Natives

Native Sambucus: Elderberry

Sarcococca

Sarcococca: Sweet Box

Natives

Symphoricarpos: Snowberry

Lilac

Syringa: Lilac

Vaccinium

Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Natives

Native Vaccinium: Huckleberry

Viburnum

Viburnum: Arrowwood

Natives

Native Viburnum trilobum

Cranberrybush