Who needs perfume when the many fragrances of spring are wafting through our gardens? This is just the right time of year to experience the scents of the Daphne, a gardener’s favourite for fragrance!
This shrub is one of the most intensely fragranced shrubs in many gardens across their native continents of Asia, Europe and, in the case of a handful of introduced species, North America. They’re perfect for placing next to doors, beneath windows and along pathways, where their scent can be enjoyed to its fullest extent. Think the smell of freshly cut grass is your favourite spring scent? Give Daphne a sniff and see how you feel afterwards!
Why do some plants have a scent?
You might already know that some plants have evolved to produce a scent in order to attract pollinating insects, such as bees, butterflies, moths and bats. But did you know that different flower scents are designed to attract different pollinators? For example, insects like butterflies, moths and bees are attracted to sweet smells, but bats and certain birds are more attracted to musky smells.
Flowers also release their scents at certain times of the day to coincide with pollinators activity. For example, night blooming jasmine releases its scent at night to attract moths.
How does a flower produce scent?
Did you know that scientists have identified over 1,700 scents produced by flowers?! That’s more fragrances than Jo Malone could fit in one of their shops! Flowers produce these scents through their ‘nectaries’, which are the glands that also produce nectar.
Where a flower’s nectaries are located depends on the species and variety of flower. Some flowers produce scent from their petals, while others may have dedicated glands for scent production.
But how do pollinators smell these fragrances when they don’t have noses? Well, they can actually use their antennae, or other sense organs, to detect the chemicals in the scents that come from flowers!
As I mentioned earlier, Daphne is a gardener’s favourite for adding scent to a garden! Dubbed by some as the ‘world’s most fragrant shrub’, this variety was developed over a period of 10 years and was nearly forgotten about by its New Zealand breeder – until it was discovered again through its incredible scent!
Left to its own devices behind the back of a shed, the plant was laying down and getting bashed by the wind; however, it recovered, proving its hardiness and durability.
Daphne Perfume Princess™ is the result of a hybrid between Daphne odora and Daphne Bhoula, combining the strong growth from one with the delectable fragrance from the other. The earliest and longest flowering Daphne ever bred, Perfume Princess™ will be able to enjoy its large, soft pink flowers from mid-winter to late spring, and dark green foliage all year round.
What does Daphne Perfume Princess™ smell like?
Daphnes have a sweet and spicy fragrance that is strong, but not sickly. So it’s not a scent that you’ll tire of easily! Daphne Perfume Princess™ has a citrus undertone, so it adds that extra bit of interest to differentiate it from other varieties.
How to care for Daphne Perfume Princess™
Aside from its incredible fragrance, Daphne Perfume Princess™ is non-fussy and will grow almost anywhere in a variety of climates – but here are some helpful tips to get the best out of your plant:
- Soil: it prefers soils that are slightly acidic and free draining
- Usage: plant in containers, in borders, or as hedging
- Container growth: use a large container with quality potting mix
- Watering: water infrequently
- Food: apply a slow release fertiliser after flowering to boost growth and next season’s flowers
- Pests and disease: this plant has good disease resistance, but may suffer the odd aphid or scale infestation. Treat only if affected.
You can buy Daphne Perfume Princess here.
What fragrant plants do you have in your garden? Let me know in the comments below!
Michael has been involved with gardening and plants since he was just five years old. He is a self-professed Plant Geek, and was listed in the Sunday Times top 20 most influential people in the gardening world, thanks to his plant hunter role at Thompson & Morgan.
Michael was responsible for new plant introductions such as the Egg and Chips plant and the FuchsiaBerry and keeps busy travelling the world in search of new plants as well as lecturing worldwide, including stints in Japan. He is very active on social media – so why not give him a follow at @mr_plantgeek or Facebook. You can also listen to The Plant Based Podcast with Michael and co-host Ellen-Mary on iTunes, Spotify and Google.