‘Carol Mackie’ is the best of the fragrant daphnes
Daphne x burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie'
Photo/Illustration: Reggie Millette
Daphne × burkwoodii ‘Carol Mackie’
Zones: 4 to 7
Size: Up to 4 feet tall and wide
Conditions: Full sun to partial shade; humus-rich, well-drained (but never dry) soil
Daphnes are cherished for their intense lemony aroma to which many other garden scents are compared. ‘Carol Mackie’ daphne blooms in early spring and gives off an especially strong fragrance, which might have you buying 10 more with which to line the rest of your path. Watering them can be a bit of a juggling act—water just enough to prevent the soil from drying out. Overwatering kills daphnes. This is probably how they earned a reputation for being difficult plants, but they’re a dream once you get the watering under control.
Daphnes hardly ever need pruning. But if you feel that you absolutely must prune, cut back only a few branches at a time. Because the plants are susceptible to fungal infection, cutting only a handful of branches leaves fewer points through which infection might enter. Cut on a dry morning, and apply fungicide afterward to lessen the risk of infection.