Daphne Mezereum or February Daphne, is a delight in the dreary days of late winter when it bursts into fragrant bloom. This low-maintenance shrub deserves a place in even the smallest garden! Native to Europe and Western Asia, Daphne Mezereum has long been grown by UK gardeners. It is one of the first plants to bloom each year, with its clusters of intensely fragrant, purple-pink flowers covering the bare branches in February and March, providing an early food source for bees. The blooms are followed by bright red berries in the summer. The narrow green leaves, 9-12 cm long, emerge while the shrub is still in flower. Gardeners should be aware that all parts of Daphne Mezereum are toxic to humans, especially the berries. However, they are very attractive to birds. Keep handing to a minimum, as it can also cause a rash if in contact with skin.
Hardy in all regions of the UK and Northern Europe, February Daphne will grow to a full height of 1-1.5 metres and spread of 50 cm to 1 metre in a period of 5 to 10 years. Very little if any pruning is required. Space plants 1 metre apart.
Plant your Daphne Mezereum in a sheltered position in full sun or partial shade with a south, east or west-facing aspect. It will do best when it gets full sun in late winter and early spring, but then is in partial shade for the hotter months. It will thrive in a fertile, moist but well-drained loam, sand, or chalk soil, and prefers a neutral ph. Mulch the soil to keep the roots cool in hot weather. Make sure that you’ve chosen your planting spot carefully, because February Daphne does not like to be moved!
February Daphne lends itself to a variety of garden uses, but since it is such a stand-out in late winter, you will want to place it where you will be able to enjoy its stunning blooms and beautiful fragrance. Tucked into a shrub border near a walkway or door, the sight and smell will be easily accessible, even when you are not spending much time out-of-doors. It is a natural fit for a woodland garden, where it will benefit from the dappled shade of the larger plants in summer.
Daphne Mezereum makes a great addition to any garden, large or small, where its fragrant winter flowers will lift your spirits!