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Winter Daphne
Daphne odora

Photo: Dr. Robert Polomski

No Regrets
Continuing last month’s conversation about Winter, I’m always happier when I see winter blooms and these are certainly worth consideration.

One of my favorite winter-flowering shrubs is winter daphne (Daphne odora).  This tight-mounding evergreen shrub typically grows up to four feet with a wider spread.  The glossy leaves make winter daphne attractive year-round, especially variegated cultivars such as ‘Aureomarginata’ and ‘Variegata.’

This plant is absolutely breathtaking from February to March when it blooms.  The white trumpet-shaped flowers with purple exteriors appear in clusters at ends of its branches and produce an intoxicating scent that permeates the surroundings.  Sprigs can be cut and enjoyed indoors.

Despite these outstanding attributes, many critics contend that winter daphne is a temperamental plant with a questionable longevity in the landscape.  I agree that it dislikes transplanting, so select a permanent spot in the garden because she doesn’t like to be moved.  It should be a well-drained location that’s sheltered from afternoon sun.  As to its longevity, I agree that in some cases it’s not a longlived plant. Out of eight plants, only six lived for eight years (longer than most celebrity marriages).  But trust me, they were eight fabulous years--and I have no regrets.