The scent of a shrub — Winter Daphne

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 3, 2019

The plant produces clusters of small flowers in February

As drab and cold as it is outdoors, take heart — there is a spring flowering shrub with a beautiful citrus-like fragrance that is nearing bloom.

Daphne odora, or winter daphne, is an evergreen shrub that blooms in late winter with extremely fragrant flowers. This shrub is a requirement for those that appreciate extremely fragrant flowers.

Daphne reaches about 3-4 feet in height and spread. The plant produces terminal clusters of small flowers in February that are crystalline white inside, deep purplish-pink outside.

The lovely bloom, however, is overshadowed by its citrus-like scent, one of the most fragrant of any flower. Fortunately, the flower clusters adapt to bouquets, bringing a beautiful scent into our homes or offices. Locate this shrub near a well-travelled path or an outdoor courtyard where its fragrance can be appreciated.

This plant is not the easiest to grow, though many have mastered its cultural requirements. The shrub does not appreciate soils with poor drainage. Ideally, a deep, well-drained woodland soil with plenty of humus is best for this shrub. It can tolerate sun or shade but does best in a protected area of full sun. The plant needs to be carefully irrigated during periods of drought.