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Daphne odora dropping leaves

Michigan, United States Us

I store all my winter plants that won't survive outdoors in my sun room and walked out there yesterday and could smell the flowers from my Daphne odora. I have two potted plants in there, one is three years old and the other is two. They were both covered in half-opened blossoms and the smell was more overwhelming than the perfume area at the mall. I've never known them to open earlier than February, even last year with the way above average temperatures. The younger plant has also dropped most of its leaves (they turned yellow-brown and dropped off). I don't water them during winter because I am afraid they will rot, so it is not likely to be the problem. Has anyone else experienced this?

On plant Daphne odora




I have only ever grown Daphne outdoors but have experience the leaves dropping a couple of times. It didn't seem to affect the plants, they bloomed each year.

18 Dec, 2012


They flowered as they are indoors and think it is spring by the warmth. You still need to keep plants moist if in doors and you can kill them by under as well as over watering - moist to touch is perfect.

18 Dec, 2012


I don't know much about Daphne odorata, but I do know that some plants (lemon trees, for example) really do not like too much heat in winter - if your sunroom is unheated, it should be fine, and it must be something else causing the leaves to drop, but if you have central heating in there, it could be what's making them unhappy.

18 Dec, 2012


Thank you for the help, I almost suspected too little water but the leaves really dropped rapidly and I suspect it is something else. We have had sudden temperature changes from 25 degrees Fahrenheit up to 50F. It is usually unheated, when temps drop below freezing I set the thermostat to 40 so the temps stay above freezing but not so warm that the plants wake up. So far the plants are flowering well and smell AMAZING so hopefully they grow the leaves back. If not, at least I get to enjoy the flowers first! Daphnes don't like growing in pots either and I think that is at least part of the problem.

18 Dec, 2012


Hi RK the smell indoors will be devine if only for that reason.

I have never grown any indoors all our in garden.

But I may try to even as a Bonsai.

Hope this finds you well.

19 Dec, 2012


The scent is possibly the best of all shrubs... Contentious I know.

If it is flowering then leaf drop is to be expected. It's doing ok. It will settle (hopefully) into its own rhythm. And to have it flowering at this time of year is an added joy.

20 Dec, 2012


I have never smelled the flowers before, last time they were open I was out of town for a few months! It's a relief to know the leaf drop is nothing to worry about, thanks for letting me know! I love the scent, almost over-whelming up close but it fills an entire room.

20 Dec, 2012


Many daphnes and often smaller subjects in pots although evergreen tend to lose their leaves in the winter so I wouldn't worry too much, I'm sure that the leaves will re-grow in the spring. As already mentioned carefull watering can be critical.

21 Dec, 2012


I had one of these, outdoors, and lost it. I wish I'd tried to overwinter it indoors now, but at the time I read up quite a bit on Daphne and it put me off growing them. Main thing I learned is that they must never be allowed to dry I'm thinking that may be your problem RK, sorry. I hope it survives :) Such a beautiful scent, but too high-maintenance for me I'm afraid. I also had two Mezereums in my old garden and I lost both of those as well!

22 Dec, 2012


Karen, I usually do not have any problems with daphnes and after reading all these comments do not think I have anything to worry about. Daphnes do have a reputation for being difficult and high maintenance but I think the biggest problem is all the plant experts who give bad advice on how to grow them haha. I've grown and propagated them for a while now and have only lost a couple. Most of them are drought tolerant when established and are killed more frequently by over-watering or poor drainage. If they have a sunny spot with good drainage they are pretty low maintenance. You should try Daphne tangutica or Daphne x transatlantica 'Eternal Fragrance'. I know a lot of people who have said the same thing about Daphne mezereum but D. tangutica and transatlantica are two of the easiest varieties to grow.

22 Dec, 2012


Jimmy, thanks for the comment, I think you're right about the problem. I am not worried about it now, I think I was just surprised by how suddenly it dropped the leaves but I already see new leaf buds covering the stems.

22 Dec, 2012


Oh, that's great news RK and thank you so much for the advice...I shall try the Eternal Fragrance one, as I've recently been very tempted by that one, and if what you say is true (and I don't doubt the lessons you have gained from experience) then it is definitely worth a try, as Daphne's are sooooo beautiful! hooray! :)

23 Dec, 2012


Hello, I have brought my Daphne Odora into my office for the winter. I planted it into a pot on my deck, which is North facing. My office is South facing with a good size window. I live on Vancouver Island which can get quite wet and pretty chilly in the winter, hence the move to the office. Like you I have been lucky enough to have a mass of blooms, which started to open just before Christmas and I am just now seeing the last of the blossoms drop - along with yellowed leaves. The perfume has filled, pretty much my whole house, and has been divine. Not having grown one before I decided to pinch out one finishing bloom, as I would a rhodo. However, I decided to leave the rest as I notice I have a great deal of new growth happening there and not too much in the way of new leaves forming lower down the stems which are becoming quite bare from falling leaves. I know that I have made a mistake in using these self watering pots. Never again! I have drilled a hole at the bottom of this one so as to pour off excess water but feel I still am stressing my plant with over watering at the roots and perhaps even keeping the office too cool. I have enjoyed reading all your messages on here, thank you. It has given me heart that my beautiful Daphne may survive the 'fall' and like you Rk, am celebrating that at least I had that fabulous Christmas present of heavenly scented blooms. Fingers crossed!

10 Jan, 2017

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