Noted plant expert Michael Dirr has this to say about daphnes, “They are fickle, and many die for no explicable reason. … Daphne culture is akin to voodoo medicine.”
Some might give up on daphnes after reading these words, but Dirr goes on to say that daphnes are great garden plants, and the fantastic sweet fragrance makes the plant a good candidate for any garden. Many of the people we know who have a Carol Mackie daphne consider it the star of their garden.
The Carol Mackie daphne is a dense deciduous shrub growing about 2-3′ tall and 3-4′ wide. The delicate green leaves have creamy-white edges. Though the plant is deciduous, leaves often persist well into December and beyond. Light pink flowers in spring age to white and offer an amazing, intoxicating fragrance. Overall, a mature Carol Mackie is a thing of great beauty.
The daphne is best in part shade and moist, well-drained soil. Once planted, it should be left undisturbed and unpruned. Summer mulching or a groundcover helps to keep roots cool.
While the daphne isn’t usually a long-lived shrub, it’s charms are worth the effort in our view.