Native to the Caucasus, this deciduous shrub is a member of the Thymelaeaceae, a plant family of just under 900 species, most of which are unfamiliar to North American gardeners. The plant grows slowly to 3-4′ tall and wide, and has glaucous stems and alternate leaves that are 1-1.7″ long, oblanceolate-lanceolate, and green to bluish-green topsides with glaucous undersides. The fragrant, white, starshaped flowers appear in clusters of 4-20 beginning in late spring and then again in midsummer and fall. Fleshy red or black fruits follow. The long bloom time, and flower fragrance make Caucasian daphne a good choice for borders, beds, patios, and a fragrance garden. The genus name, Daphne, honors a nymph of Greek mythology associated with fountains, wells, springs, streams, brooks and other bodies of freshwater. The specific epithet, caucasica, is the Latinized form of the geographic native range of the plant.

Type: Deciduous flowering shrub

Outstanding Feature: Fragrant flowers, long bloom time

Form: Dense mound

Growth Rate: Slow

Bloom: Clusters of fragrant, white, starshaped flowers in late spring and mid summer

Size: 3-4′ H x 3-4′ W

Light: Full or partial shade

Soil: Fertile, consistently moist, well-drained

Hardiness: Zones 5-8

Care: Apply balanced fertilizer in very early spring and again in mid-summer; prune immediately after flowering if needed

Pests and Diseases: Generally healthy but susceptible to aphids, mealy bug, root rot, leaf spot, honey fungus, and a virus that causes sudden death

Propagation: Semi-hardwood cuttings in summer; grafting in winter; seed

Outstanding Selections: (Parent of Daphne x burkwoodii)

Comment: All parts of the plant are poisonous

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

By Karen