Daphne question

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Allison
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Joined: 2010-04-08
Daphne question

I have a question (or two) about Daphne cneorum. I know it is a bit of a ho-hum plant, but it has its good points.... Unfortunately, the one in my rock garden has gotten too big and floppy. It bloomed beautifully again this spring, but it is taking up far too much real estate and its floppy branches are smothering its neighbours. So, I am wondering, can I cut it back? Or, alternatively, can I dig it up and move it? It has been in its spot for 11 years and is about 6' wide now. Is it floppy because it is in too much shade? It gets about a half day of full sun, then dappled shade.

What should I do?

Peter George
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-03

Trying to transplant it would likely end up killing it. My experience (which is not nearly as extensive as many of our other forumists) is that you can cut Daphnes back with no harm. Harvey Wrightman has told me that he cuts his back every year and that it benefits the plants. I've cut several of mine back over the years, but my D. cneorum is so beautiful in bloom that I have left it alone. In lieu of cutting IT back, I've moved stuff out of its way. Much easier, from my rather primitive perspective.

Peter George, Petersham, MA (north central MA, close to the NH/VT borders), zones 5b and 6 around the property.

Michael J Campbell
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Joined: 2011-01-31

Don't even think about transplanting it, you will definitely kill it. Try pruning it in the spring just when you see new growth beginning, not too severe at first. Gently over a couple of years till you get under control. Daphnes are very temperamental.

Michael J Campbell in Shannon, County Clare, Ireland

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Toole
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Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-07-02

Michael wrote:

Don't even think about transplanting it, you will definitely kill it.

Hello Lis
Yip that's my experience as well ,so much so i no longer 'go there' with clients  :) who insist i move a well loved Daphne.

Interestingly I've successfully transplanted a number of small seedlings that occur under an unknown sps growing in the garden here.

Here's a pic of a small Daphne giraldii that i pruned a few months back after flowering -Growing in a half shaded trough up against the garage wall ,out of the prevailing weather it had suffered badly in a dry spell when i forgot to water it.
I topped it and cut off all of the side growths as they all had dieback.It looked like a bare stick for a while however has shot away.
Yes the snail has been located and dispatched ...)  ;D

Cheers Dave.

Invercargill
Bottom of the South Island New Zealand
Zone 8 maritime climate
1100mm,(40 in),rainfall p.a.
Nil snow cover

Tim Ingram
Title: Member
Joined: 2011-04-27

Lis - another thing you can do with such an old spreading plant is to layer it and get new plants to put elsewhere. I tie a shoot down into a pot (using string through the drainage holes), and bury the pot next to the plant. Layers should root in about 12 to 18 months and then can be cut from the parent and lifted after they have had a while to equilibrate. But then you need another spot for a six foot wide bush!

Dr. Timothy John Ingram
Faversham, Kent, UK
I garden in a relatively hot and dry region (for the UK!), with an annual rainfall of around 25", winter lows of -10°C and summer highs of 30°C.
 

Peden
Title: Guest
Joined: 2012-01-04

Lis wrote:

I have a question (or two) about Daphne cneorum. I know it is a bit of a ho-hum plant, but it has its good points....  Unfortunately, the one in my rock garden has gotten too big and floppy. It bloomed beautifully again this spring, but it is taking up far too much real estate and its floppy branches are smothering its neighbours. So, I am wondering, can I cut it back? Or, alternatively, can I dig it up and move it? It has been in its spot for 11 years and is about 6' wide now. Is it floppy because it is in too much shade? It gets about a half day of full sun, then dappled shade.

What should I do?

A six foot wide D. cneorum that is still blooming well? I might stand in awe of its presence.

Michael Peden
Lake Champlain Valley, zone 4b
Four and a half months frost free
Snow cover not guaranteed

Allison
Allison's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2010-04-08

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! What I think I'll try is this: cut back 1/4 to 1/3 of the branches to where they themselves branch. Then next year, if the branches pruned this year leaf out, do it some more. Does that sound about right? Also, some of the branches have layered themselves and I'll try potting them up. If that works then I'll have some to experiment with, and will try one in a sunnier spot. Anyway, thanks again for the help. I'll let you know what happens!

Gardening on a wooded rocky ridge in the Ottawa Valley, Canada. Cold winters (-30C) and hot, humid summers. Nuts about native plants, ferns, pottery, my family, and Border Collies.

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