TREES & plants

February daphne

Flowers of February daphne.

February daphne is a dense, rounded shrub with highly fragrant rosy-lilac flowers in early spring. Small red fruit appear later in the summer. A plant for well-drained soils only, may be short-lived.

Botanical name: 
Daphne mezereum
All Common Names: 
February daphne; mezereon; paradise-plant, spurge laurel, garland flower
Family (English): 
Family (Botanic): 
Tree or Plant Type: 
  • Shrub
  • Deciduous (seasonally loses leaves)
Native Locale: 
  • Non-native
Landscape Uses: 
  • Foundation, 
  • Hedge, 
  • Massing, 
  • Mixed border, 
  • Patio/sidewalk, 
  • Specimen
Size Range: 
  • Small shrub (3-5 feet)
Mature Height: 
3 to 5 feet high
Mature Width: 
3 to 5 feet wide
Light Exposure: 
  • Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily)
Hardiness Zones: 
  • Zone 4, 
  • Zone 5 (Chicago), 
  • Zone 6, 
  • Zone 7
Soil Preference: 
  • Alkaline soil, 
  • Dry soil, 
  • Moist, well-drained soil, 
  • Sandy soil
Acid Soils: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Alkaline Soils: 
  • Prefers
Salt Spray: 
  • Intolerant
Soil Salt: 
  • Intolerant
Drought Conditions: 
  • Moderately Tolerant
Poor Drainage: 
  • Intolerant
Planting Considerations: 
  • Marginally hardy, 
  • May be difficult to find in nurseries
Ornamental Interest: 
  • Spring blossoms, 
  • Fragrant flowers, 
  • Showy fruit, 
  • Showy flowers
Season of Interest: 
  • Early spring, 
  • Mid spring, 
  • Late spring, 
  • Mid summer, 
  • Late summer, 
  • Early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance: 
  • Fragrant, 
  • Pink, 
  • Purple
Shape or Form: 
  • Broad, 
  • Mounded, 
  • Round, 
  • Upright
Growth Rate: 
  • Slow
More Information: 

Tree & Plant Care

A small, 3 to 5 feet high shrub with erect branching, often becoming leggy at the base.
Perfect drainage is a must, ideally in loose, sandy, neutral soil in full sun.
Daphnes do not transplant well and should not be moved once established.
Protect during winter in cold climates. Cover with evergreen boughs or mulch after ground freezes.
Prune after flowering before mid-July.
Tolerant of black walnut toxicity.

Disease, pests, and problems

Leaf spots, crown rot, cankers, and scale
Avoid windy sites.
Plants will do well for several years then die for no obvious reason.

Native geographic location and habitat

Europe and Siberia

Attracts birds, pollinators, or wildlife

Birds are attracted to fruit.

Bark color and texture 

Brown to tan, often twiggy.

Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture

Alternate, deciduous or semi-evergreen, simple dark green leaves are 1-inch long and narrow.

Flower arrangement, shape, and size

Flowers are very fragrant, lilac to rose-purple, 2-3 per 1/2-inch clusters and develop before the leaves appear in early April

Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions

Fruit is a 1/3-inch diameter red berry that matures in June.
All parts of plant is poisonous, especially the fruit.


Daphne mezereum or February daphne