I just read an interesting article in the Seattle Times about daphnes. I have one of the infamous 'odora' varieties that has been looking absolutely shabby for the past few years. I keep threatening to pull it out, but then relent when it blooms. It has totally defoliated the past two winters and its general growth pattern is more sideways than upright - some branches seem to head directly down into the dirt. I may just pull this sick puppy out altogether and replace it with something else.
The daphne that has caught my interest is 'Lawrence Crocker' - prolific bloomer, dwarf shrub, very fragrant. The author places his in full sun pure sand. My 'odora' is in part shade loamy soil.
Anyone tried Larry? He's on my list of plants to keep an eye out for. I have a lot of very sandy edges to my new patio and I think he may just like it down there...
I read that article with interest as well, especially because I just succumbed and bought Daphne burkwoodii 'Briggs Moonlight' - the one Valerie Easton says she killed twice before giving up. I had also planted it in part shade loamy soil and now have plans to amend a sunny area with sand and grit and move it there. Hopefully that will work because it is soooo pretty.
Here is the reply from Urs at Edelweiss Perennials [where I bought Brigg's Moonlight] to my question of what he thought of the advice in the Seattle Times article to plant daphnes in almost pure sand:
"That might work but for us we never had a problem in plain old dirt; well draining, I might add. But I do know that many people do have difficulties getting them established. We have a hard time getting them big in pots and lots of bark (fir) has helped. So that’s what I can add to the “pot”."
I moved Briggs last night out to a mounded bed in full sun and amended the planting hole with a lot of sand and small gravel. Will keep you apprised of its health and well-being (so far it survived the night :)
I have several Daphne odora plants and I think they must tend to "creep" because all of mine are doing that. They are about 3 years in the ground now. I think they look fairly healthy. 2 Carol Mackies and 1 very small (but old) daphne that are also doing well. Soil is regular old Willamette Valley clay mixed with garden mulch. I have not fertilized them at all and I don't think they need it. They are my absolute favorite frangrance garden plants!
They perished here also. I think they need to be planted in the driest best draining soil where their roots keep kind of dry. IE rock garden sunny summits. I gave up because my garden is devoid of this kind of soil.