Daphne plants are deciduous, evergreen or semi-evergreen shrubs native to areas of Europe, Asia and northern Africa. Gardeners value the shrubs for their small, fragrant flowers that appear in early spring to summer. Daphne has a reputation for being unpredictable and the plant does require moderate effort to sustain. With the correct environmental conditions, however, a Daphne plant adds color and interest to the home landscape. Hardiness zones vary depending on variety, but most types of Daphne grow in USDA zones 4 through 9.
Plant Daphne during mid-spring in a location that receives full sunlight throughout the day. Ensure the planting site is composed of fertile, moist, well-drained soil for optimal growth. Space Daphne plants 2 to 3 feet apart.
Apply a 3-inch layer of organic mulch over the ground surrounding the plant to keep the roots cool during summer and deter competitive weeds. Allow about 3 inches between the crown of the plant and the mulch to permit air circulation.
Water Daphne once every two weeks during spring and fall, and once each week during summer. Soak the soil deeply and thoroughly to a depth of at least 6 inches at each application for the best results. Do not water during winter.
Feed with a balanced 10-10-10 NPK fertilizer immediately after blooming ends to help the plant recover lost nutrients. Water before and after applying to reduce the risk of root burn. Apply according to the manufacturer's directions.
Prune the Daphne plant after blooming has ended to increase the aesthetic appeal and the overall health of the plant. Use pruning shears to trim away any leggy, excessively long, damaged or diseased branches. Remove spent flowers as often as possible to encourage additional flowering.