Category: Flowers and Plants

Fantastic Design Plant: Winter Daphne

As unmistakable and memorable as the smell of a leather baseball glove or Chanel No. 5, the first whiff of winter daphne lets you know that the seasons are changing and that it’s always good to be in a backyard — even on a cold winter morning, once the odor of this tiny pink blossoms looks even stronger. The evergreen shrub is handsome, too. A lot of people would agree: If your climate allows it, do all you can to grow daphne. Obviously, there is a caveat: The plant is a entire diva. And there is no sure way to keep it alive and healthy. But try.

Botanical name: Daphne odora
Common title: Winter daphne
Origin: Native to China and Japan
USDA zones: 7 to 9
Water necessity: Moderate; do not let the soil dry out
Light requirement: Partial color, especially where there is midday sun
Mature size: 3 to 4 ft tall and wide, and bigger
advantages and tolerances: Small but potently fragrant flowers can fill a backyard with odor; some sprigs attracted indoors will perfume a room. The lustrous-leafed tree matches into many landscape conditions. It is generally free of insect pests but is susceptible to often-mysterious origin maladies, creating its reputation as an unpredictable malingerer.
Seasonal curiosity: Blooms in mid to late winter and early spring
When to plant: Plant container-grown plants almost any time of year, though spring and autumn are generally the best times.

Distinguishing attributes. Daphne is a handsome evergreen with dense foliage and glistening green leaves; ‘Aureo-Marginata’ is a popular variety with variegated leaves. Fragrant pink flowers appear in tight clusters at the branch tips.

Growing tips: locate a place in partial shade where you can enjoy the smell and sight of the blossoms. Amend the soil thoroughly with compost and do not bury the cover of the main ball. Don’t overwater in summer — this promotes soil diseases. If your plant dies, try another place. Try it into a pot.

To control the shrub’s size and form, you can prune, or even shear back, a few inches after bloom. Cut bouquets of flowers liberally — this is all the pruning required to maintain bushy growth.

How to utilize it. Squeeze in a single daphne tree where people hang outside or walk close to the back or front entrance, near a patio, in the border of a shady border (be sure at least half a day of sun is available). Daphne looks great in a mixed border, in a bed that is raised and in a container. Or plant a set of three in a curve or corner on your backyard. Shown here is the typical size and form of a gently pruned seven-year-old plant: 3 ft tall and 5 ft wide.

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Fantastic Design Plant: Kousa Dogwood

Cornus kousa (kousa dogwood) is a beautiful ornamental shrub that is not quite as common because its popular comparative, Cornus florida (flowering dogwood). If you’re looking for a spring bloomer for your lawn, a kousa dogwood will provide you amazing bracts for four to six weeks, some downright Dr. Seussian berries in summer time, some vibrant fall color and, as it ages, gorgeous exfoliating mottled bark to admire during the winter. Continue reading if you want to get to know the kousa dogwood better.

The New York Botanical Garden

Botanical name: Cornus kousa
Common titles: Kousa dogwood; Korean, Chinese or Japanese dogwood
USDA zones: 5 to 8 (find your zone)
Water condition: Consistent moisture
Light requirement: Full sun to partial shade
Mature size: 20 to 30 feet tall with an equal spread since it matures
Benefits and tolerances: The biggest tolerance of notice is that the kousa interrupts anthracnose disease, which plagues flowering dogwood. It prefers moist, and well-drained soils but may withstand dry and compact soils.
Seasonal interest: Lovely bracts in the spring, fruits in summer, reddish-purple foliage in fall
When to plant: Following the last frost in the spring


Distinguishing traits. Kousa dogwood is famous for being more upright than its comparative, flowering dogwood (C. florida). But as it ages, it will spread out from a vase shape into a round form. Those blooms you know and love are now bracts underneath smaller yellow-green flowers.

The New York Botanical Garden

These bracts show up at the spring and last for about six weeks since the tree leafs out, eventually turning pink with age till they drop off.

From the late summer or early fall, kousa sprouts pink edible fruits. They’re bumpy-looking berries around 1/2 inch in diameter. Once mature, they aren’t too bad. (Could you tell they’re not my personal favorite?)

As they ripen, they make more pink, turning into a dark cherry shade. These berries are the easiest way to differentiate kousa from other dogwood species.

From the fall, kousa dogwood’s leaves turn a brilliant reddish-purple. In the winter, the absence of leaves reveals lovely bark that exfoliates with age, which is just another distinctive trait.


How to utilize it. Kousa dogwood is a wonderful ornamental tree to your lawn. Use it as a specimen tree or in a grove. Because it is tolerant of shade, you might also use it at the edge of a woodland.

If you would like to maintain your dogwood’s flowering season going as long as possible, utilize it with flowering dogwoods, as kousas will bloom about a month later than flowering dogwoods.


Planting notes. Make sure that your soil is loose, fertile and well drained. Till a nice area that is at least three times the size of your root chunk.
Dig a hole twice as wide and as deep as the root ball. Loosen up its roots and place it in the pit. Fill the remainder of the hole back with soil and tamp it down. When the remainder of the pit is half filled with dirt, add water and let it drain before filling it the remainder of the way.Water it thoroughly and add a couple inches of mulch; nonetheless, don’t let the mulch touch the trunk of this tree.
More: Read more great layout plants

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