Q: I have a question about daphne. I have both a pink and a white variety. I know they like shade but what else should I provide them?
A: I planted a Daphne odora ‘Areomarginata’ beside my entranceway two years ago. For the first three weeks in February, I was greeted each evening with the sweet smell of daphne when I came home from work. They are great plants, but as you alluded, occasionally persnickety about their surroundings. I think “bright shade” describes their light needs. In deep shade a daphne will languish but in full sunshine it will fry.
Their most important demand is for well-drained soil around their roots. I dug a three-foot wide hole, mixed in a two cubic foot bag of compost, and planted my daphne in the center. I have fertilized in May, June and September and watered it in July. The plant presented me with its rewards this spring. Given the right home, a daphne can grow larger than you would expect. I recently saw a trio of plants, each two feet tall and three feet wide, used as a foundation planting in front of a house.