Daphne x burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie'
|This photo, taken in mid-August, shows how gorgeous the foliage stays through summer |
Many plants stand out because of their variegated foliage - others shine when in bloom. This is one of the rarer ones that have both. The green/white variegated foliage is attractive all season, and the flowers in May are wonderful too. We got this as a small rooted cutting a few years ago, and it's still actively growing, about a foot tall now. The full-sized specimens I've seen are gorgeous - something to look forward to. That is - if ours survives. I made the mistake of transplanting it a year ago - it was too close to a garden path - in mid-autumn. Ever since, the plant has sulked severely, even though its new location was lovingly prepared and well tended all year. So it goes with daphnes, I gather. The main plant died back altogether in the next winter. I was just about to dig and discard it in mid-May, when I noticed a couple of sprouts emerging from below the soil level. One was all-green, so I removed it; but the other had the desired variegation. So I'm hopeful that within a few years we'll have a presentable specimen once again.
||ordinary garden soil
|and in January |
|Its foliage does deteriorate through winter; new growth appears in April |
|In full glory, late April |
|Poor daphne, still barely any leaves a year after transplanting |
This plant used to grow in our garden, but it slipped away...
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Visitors to this page have left the following comments
|s.herrmann||Apr 27, 2006||I'm not finding anything on pruning. Do you have any information. My plant is beginning to look rather tall and scraggly.|
I haven't had to prune mine yet. The article at http://www.darrelltrout.com/dtartdappru.asp may be helpful.
|EJ||Sep 16, 2006||We have a few Carol Mackies. Two are doing well and the third (as early as August)looks like it looks in mid-winter. What are we doing wrong?
No idea - it must be stressed somehow. Good luck getting it back to health.
|JahSwamp||Sep 30, 2006||Be careful pruning Daphne as the bark can tear. It is best to make quick clean cuts, holding the branch which will be discarded as it drops off. They recover well from pruning.
Daphne sometimes have the habit of dieing unexpectedly. This is no reason not to try this beautiful, fragrant plant.|
|Klg||Apr 30, 2008||I have three Carol Mackies. I had to move the largest most established last summer. This spring, the two that weren't moved are doing great. The moved plant isn't doing anything. When I scrape the bark with my fingernail it is green so I don't think it's truly dead. What do you think....should I wait for it to do something or should I replace it?|
Well, don't give up hope just yet - but mine didn't survive its transplant. It limped along for a year, then died off completely over the following winter.
|EaDarcy||May 13, 2008||I planted two 1-gallon plants last spring. Many roots were exposed, and I left them exposed all winter to prevent rot. Now that they are growing quickly, they flop over. Any suggestions to helping them stay upright? Should I bury the exposed roots deeper? Stakes?|
|Mfederico||Jul 15, 2008||I have rosebushes with open space in between each. Do these work great as fillers? How tall do they get, because my roses feed off the sun, and I don't want other plants hovering over them.|
I would not use these as "filler" plants - they do get to be quite large, and are nearly impossible to move (as I found out the hard way).
|sjones||Aug 01, 2008||My 5 year old daphne which is 5 feet wide and 3 tall was overtaken by a porcelain vine last summer. Now half of the daphne is bare and only the far reaches of the branches on the other side have leaves. Don't know if perhaps it will all leaf out next year now that the vine is gone. Think I will try pruning some of the totally bare branches - should I?|
Personally, I'd wait a bit, to see where regrowth will occur. If the affected branches don't leaf out by next spring, I'd cut them back then.
|bsettle||Aug 22, 2008||I need to move a lovely carole mackie daphne. The above comments are discouraging. Are there any pointers you can give to help me succeed in this move?|
I made my attempt in fall - if I were to try again, I'd go for early spring. Cut back the top growth a good bit, and dig out as much of the root system as possible, trying to leave some soil on the central root clump. Still, no guarantees.
|salsa1||Aug 29, 2008||I planted carol last year. She is doing great. This week I noticed a few flowers on her. Is it possible that she can rebloom? I live in northeast Wisconsin. |
Yes, I've seen occasional rebloom as well - but nothing like the near-continuous flowering of Daphne retusa.
|bbrooker||Oct 02, 2008||Just like bsettle, I am going to need to move a beautiful Carole Mackie Daphne that is approximately 8 years old and 3 x 5 feet in size. I am in Kansas City. You suggested to her to attempt in Spring, I cannot wait until spring, so are there any tips for fall transplanting. I am so nervous about moving her because I have tried to establish other CM daphnes in other places in my garden with no success. Even the local nurseries have trouble keeping them alive. Any tips?|
Afraid not. I wish you luck :-)
|email@example.com||Oct 05, 2008||My Daphne is several years old and has never bloomed, it gets some afternoon sun, is in a fairly protected area, it is growing and has tripled in size but has never had a flower. Does it need longer sunlight, if so I can cut back a geranium|
The way you describe your site's lighting, I would not be surprised if the flowerlessness was due to a deficit of direct sunlight. So yes, I'd try to bring some more light in.
|joanne fanganello||Mar 16, 2009||i have a four year old carol mackie daphne. it is about 3 ft. tall by 4 ft. round. i would like to prune it and perhaps start four or five new plants from the trimmings. can this be done? thank you, jo anne|
I'm pretty sure my Carol Mackie was grafted, not simply rooted (it sent up unvariegated suckers), so I don't know if rooting is an option. Of course you can always try :-)
|Cathie Gordon||Mar 18, 2009||We have 6 carol mackie plants. They all died this winter. We have chemlawn treat them with fertilizer and incesticide. Has anyone else had problems with their carol mackie plants dieing this winter?|
|tinap||Apr 26, 2009||I was quite taken with the Carol Mackie I saw at the shops. Before I buy it, however, I'd like someone to answer a question. I've read the branches tend to get heavy and collapse. I would be planting it in an area that tends to get waterlogged in the Spring (such as now). Would the roots still be okay? Thanks.|
|JennS||May 04, 2009||I have a Carol Mackie who started out unhappy and on a whim I just ripped her three bare twigs of a plant up, moved it and hoped. Well, 5 years later she is about 4' across and 3' high - but she is kinda sticky and gangly looking, though in full bloom right now. Can I hack her back at some point to give her better shape? My two Winter Daphnes survived the snow amazingly well, and are in full bloom in their perfect 'fry guy' round mop head shapes. I want Carol to look more like them. Help??|
|PinewoodsBear||May 06, 2009||before you transplant your Daphne X burwoodii plant... try giving it superthrive or some other type of root stimulate solution a week or so before you move the plant. This gives the plant incentive to put out new roots. Repeat the process after you move the plant to its new home. Remember these products are NOT a fertilizer. Should help the plant recover and could prevent the mysterious sudden death these plants are noted for.|
|Mj||Jun 02, 2009||I moved my beloved Carol Mackie last fall (late Oct in Chicago) and was sure I had killed her. I bought a new C.M. today and was set to replace, but noticed new signs of life on my transplant, a few buds on the tips of stems and green unfolding in a few spots. I'll search out the root stimulant suggested by Pinewoods Bear to help it further establish itself this season, so perhaps it can survive the summer and next winter as well. It is worth the effort. I really like this little shrub, and it does take several years to get them to be really beautiful. My 'replacement' doesn't yet compare to the shape of my older (4-5 years??) C.M.|
|fred||Jun 04, 2009||i didnt know the name till i came here,my mackie is big and i love it. only issue is it wants to lay flat when in bloom.i will check out the link on pruning|
|Tove||Jun 07, 2009||Just received a Carol Mackie as a gift. The leaves are curled into tight balls, and I was told it had just finished blooming. The planting medium is like clay, and so compact that even placing a finger into the clay is very difficult to even make a mark. I am tempted to replant it with a little bit of peat just to try to loosen it up a little. I understand that when I plant it into my garden, I have to cut the pot that it came in to take it out. I have never seen such an unhappy plant. What can I do to encourage it to open it's leaves so I can see the variegations that it is famous for.|
I hope your plant recovers from its stress. I would plant as is without disturbing the roots, except perhaps to loosen potbound roots along the edges and bottom of the pot. Water well, and perhaps give a root hormone treatment such as superthrive. Good luck!
|Trudy Sneve||Jun 08, 2009||I just bought a Carol Mackie and havent planted it yet im looking at one of my gardens that has two huge ceders in it.Does the carol like acidic soal and i get sun 1 pm and on,is this a good choice?|
|Antonia||Jun 18, 2009||I love my "Carol Mackie". I live in zone 5. I have moved it 3 times. I dig it up and bring it with me when I move. No problem. It is in mostly shade. Even after a few ice storms and losing it's leaves during winter, it has recovered nicely each spring and bloomed profusely. The soil is acidic and fairly moist all year. My favorite plant.|
|Terri Kirby||Jul 06, 2009||My Carol Mackie keeps dying off branch by branch, all of a sudden I will notice all of the leaves on one branch are black, I have already lost one entire bush and the other two are acting the same way HELP!|
|JoeyJjay||Jul 08, 2009||I have a 3 year old Carol Mackie in a fairly dry area near our home foundation. Last spring it had its first good blooming. After the bloom, entire branches started to die as they just seemed to dry off. It is getting worse as the summer progressed. Any advise?|
|CLong||Jul 14, 2009||I am having the same issue as JoeyJjay. My Carol Mackie bloomed great this spring, it has been in the same spot for 3+years. However, now it is drying out and looks to be dying. Any thoughts? I have a hydrangea beside it that is also looking bad but nothing has been added to soil as of late.|
|Gardening Fool||Jul 28, 2009||I think the Daphne everyone is referring to is actually the 'silver edge' variety rather than the all-green Carol Mackie. I have three huge plants that are not doing well at the moment, after extensive cutting back I have found damage to the crown (presumably from our severe winter here in New England - lots of snow and terrible ice storms). Sow bugs and a carpenter ant had taken up residence. I'm going to remove two of the plants completely. The sheer weight of the spreading branches may also have contributed to the splitting damage.|
I believe 'Carol Mackie' is the white-edged variety, not all green. Whatever their name, it does seem that large plants are prone to winter damage.
|Mayra||Aug 13, 2009||Just last week, my Carol Mackie had nornal looking tips. I don't remember ever taking note of how dead it was beginning to appear. My Carol Mackie was given to me as a gift in 2004. Planted in zone 6 in full direct sun, I thought it was happy. I never moved it. It grew to be 3 feet tall x 4 feet wide. In light of our economy,I will replace her with a peach tree. |
|Kris||Aug 27, 2009||I have 2 daphne adoras one planted on each side of my front stoop. They are about 5 years old and have been beautiful plants. One remains beautiful and healthy, but the other is dropping leaves like crazy. It started in the late winter at the front of the plant and then moved to the center and now is moving down the back. There are new leaf buds all over the branches, but they never mature. I had a chipmunk near the area and thought it was from root damage, but the chipmunk has been gone for about 5 months and the plant continues to die back. Any thoughts or suggestions? I have loved these plants at my front entrance. |
I wish I had an answer, Kris - but I have no idea. Good luck getting your daphne back to health - and keeping your other one beautiful as well.
|Bob||Oct 12, 2009||I tried the link about pruning Daphne (ref: above - Darrel Trout) and there was nothing there. It seems his recommendation (treat it like Forsythia - taking out 1/3) is not what I found in another reference. There is says Daphne falls in the "Minimal-Spring Pruning" category - only (take out only dead, diseased, damaged etc in early spring.)
I have two Daphne - 2 years old - both very large (full 3 x 5). In the spring they had a very few dry branches and leaves. I left them alone - gently stripped the dead leaves. They flowered well - and grew to current size. But they are too large -- Can I give them a trim - cutting off the top 4 - 5 inches of select branches?
I enjoy your website.|
I wish I could give you advice, but in this case, I'd just be guessing. If it were my daphne, I'd wait till spring to do this kind of pruning, even if it meant fewer flowers next year.
|Bob||Oct 12, 2009||To Kris (above)
I had one out of three Daphne do similar to yours. After it was 75% gone, I dug it out to replace with a new Carol Machie. The nursery where I bought the new one said bring in the old one and they would examine it. They cut the trunk at the crown - and it was totally rotted. Too much moisture they said.|
|amy||Feb 10, 2010||Is sunlight the only reason a Daphne wouldn't bloom well? Are there any ways to induce blooms? Each year my Daphne has two branches that bloom--and they are not the two branches that receive the most light. It gets about half a day of sun, and is planted next to a flowering quince that blooms profusely, and that I prune vigorously. I never prune the Daphne and it is very healthy looking. There is a large sword fern that gets less sun on the other side of it that I could move if needed. |
|firstname.lastname@example.org||Feb 14, 2010||i have been landscaping for 25 yrs. +- in eastern massachusetts and my experience with the carol mackie daphne has been that it tends to have a sprawling/spreading habit and branches do weigh themselves down. prune as little as possible and let naure do it's thing. also,when planting i have found that small containter plants take better than larger balled & burlapped daphnes. have observed plants in the landscape 3'H x 7'W so give room. |
|Ken||Apr 27, 2010||My daphne planted in 2001 died over the winter here in Toronto. Last year a branch died.It was glorious up until last year - faces west and gets afternoon sun for 3 -4 hours.
|Melanie||Jun 26, 2010||Interesting to see that many others have the "dried out dying branch" syndrome...no solutions noted though. My daphne is about 10 years old and this started last year. It is in a very prominent location near my front steps and is fast becoming an eyesore..I may give up on it soon....sad to see it go...it has been so beautiful. My local garden centers offer no solutions..|
|Caroline||Jul 09, 2010||I planted a Carol Mackey nearly ten years ago in clay soil very, very generously amended with compost and full sun (in Seattle). I watered it the first year and never afterwards, and Seattle has a very dry summer with almost zero precip in July-August-Sept.
It grew by leaps and bounds. After about 6-7 years it was 10-12' wide and 3-4' tall. Then we had a heavy snowfall and most of the main branches broke from the weight. I thought for sure it was a goner but didn't want to dig it out and deal with all that empty space in the bed at that time. So I pruned off the broken parts and reduced it by about 75%. The crown was cracked, so I was not optimistic and it looked really ugly. That was two years ago, and now it is gorgeous again and bloomied like crazy this spring.
This plant is completely unpredictable.
I recommend planting in very well drained soil with lots of compost. Mulch with 3-4" of compmost every year.
Do not overwater, or once established, do not water at all.
Do not fertilize.
Go ahead and prune as you like. Daphnes can take hard pruning.
Make sure it gets enough sun. If not full sun, then close to it.
Good luck! If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. |
|bch||Jul 11, 2010||My CM is now 7-8 years old and 6 feet across. It is in nearly full sun anchoring a south-facing rock garden, so drainage is perfect. Three years ago it began to die back as many have reported, and eventually one-third had died. I pruned the dead portion out completely, and the following year it began to come back from the roots. It is now spectacular again. My advice is to cut out failing branches sooner rather than later.|
|Gracie||Jul 12, 2010|| My Daphne is 7 years old and large, The problem is, it is always full of cobweb. As the flower start to bloom they turn brown,and die off, and the leaves are Very limp and and weak looking, It definitely is not dead. Is there anything I can do to make it thrive? And what do you think the problem is with my plant, I really want to save it. Thankyou.|
|Carol||Mar 25, 2011||I purchased 3 Carol Mackies in containers last spring and carefully transplanted them to a well-protected location. Within a month one had died and another died by August. This spring the third looks really bad. If I replace them, do you have suggestions on keeping them alive?|
I wish I could give you advice, but I really don't know.
|Joanne||May 02, 2011||I have a Carol Mackie for 4 years and just started getting a few buds last year. It gets 1/2 day sun or a little more. Can I do anything to increase it's blooms. It is just starting to green up here in Minneapolis. It sits next to a small rose bush. Would that need to be transplanted. Thanks.|
The sun exposure isn't too bad, so hopefully more flowers will come as your shrub matures. I don't know of anything else you could do to encourage flowering; fertilizer with a relatively high Phosphorus number might help, but don't quote me on that.
|Sara T||May 13, 2011||I just took over a commercial site with several gardens. One central feature of the Zen-style garden (everything is Asiatic origin) is a daphne Carol Mackie. It was probably planted around 2006. The spot faces South, with the garden in the crook of an L-shaped building. Moring sun, shade in afternoon. It is now at least 7-1/2 feet across and 4 feet high. Or was. After this nasty winter, I read how 'delicate' CM are, with mine looking flat as a pancake from 5ft of snow on it, and that they should never be pruned. I said bleh to that and cut it back to about 3 feet high and 5 feet wide. It bloomed like nobody's business. Bumblebees are drunk on the nectar, and it's wildly funny to watch them stagger off. It filled back in very nicely, and I have never watered, composted, etc. it. The local nursery says it has never ever, in 30 years seen such a huge, healthy daphne. So, I agree- these things are completely unpredictable.|
|Sara T||May 13, 2011||I just took over a commercial site with several gardens. One central feature of the Zen-style garden (everything is Asiatic origin) is a daphne Carol Mackie. It was probably planted around 2006. The spot faces South, with the garden in the crook of an L-shaped building. Morning sun, shade in afternoon. It is now at least 7-1/2 feet across and 4 feet high. Or was. After this nasty winter, I read how 'delicate' CM are, with mine looking flat as a pancake from 5ft of snow on it, and that they should never be pruned. I said bleh to that and cut it back to about 3 feet high and 5 feet wide. It bloomed like nobody's business. Bumblebees are drunk on the nectar, and it's wildly funny to watch them stagger off. It filled back in very nicely, and I have never watered, composted, etc. it. The local nursery says it has never ever, in 30 years seen such a huge, healthy daphne. So, I agree- these things are completely unpredictable.|
Isn't it great when plants surprise you in a good way?
|Denis||Jul 24, 2011||Our CM is 5 years old. On one side ( East ) the leaves all dried up so I had to cut some branches off. When doing so I also noticed how easily tje branches came off the root. It looked as if the branches were loose or even maybe water logged. I water my garden evenly all of the time and all the other plants are doing just fine. Am I watering toop much. We are going to purchase a new CM today but are having issues in trying to find a nursery that carris them. Any suggestions. We live in ottawa.|
|Dick Krismer||Aug 16, 2011||Winter 2010 / 2011 was brutal in MN. First snow was heavy and wet and caused some damage with broken branches. We have three CDM's and two we thought were destroyed but came back in late May. My damage is more to the center of the shrub and I am wondering if you can cut them back like I do with my Spiareas. In the winter cut them down to about 8" in height. We love them and can not get them anymore in MN and we don't want to replace them unless we absolutely have to. They have been in the ground almost 7 years.|
|D Lang||Apr 22, 2012||If a daphne all green shrub has been in its pot for 3-4 years can I transplant the shrub into the ground and will it survive? Is there anything that I can do to assure the plant surviving?|
|Marilyn||Jul 24, 2012||We had a professional landscaper do our front yard about 6 years ago with one request that they include a CM. It died over the winter; replacement on 1 yr. guarantee....come fall, replacement looked as if it was dying. So I clipped some branches, dipped in rooton and put in a small pot for the winter. Come spring the clippings looked alive and well. I planted one in front where originals had been, partly shaded by a large tulip tree in afternoon sun. The other placed along the east foundation with full sun most of the day. Both cuttings survived, and started blooming (just one at first) about two years ago and continue to thrive and bloom.(in fact, it is Aug. 1, drought conditions in Iowa and each has one small clump of white flowers. They both are overtaking their homes and I have been wondering about pruning. Surely don't think I want to move them, but don't want to hurt them by pruning, either. I have noted nothing definitive about pruning, so would appreciate any suggestions other CM lovers can suggest. |
|Patricia J Wham||Jun 09, 2013||I rooted a CM and it grew into a magnificent bush in a couple of years, so much so, that it outgrew it's allotted space. I pruned it severely in the early spring and transplanted it. Now it is just sitting. I don't know if it is dead or alive. I suspect it is dying slowly. It put out a couple of leaves which dried up and fell off. After a couple of months a small scrape to the branch revealed bright green but now not so much. I haven't scraped farther on down the stem, as I don't want to inflict any more damage. CM rooted so easily and grew so prolifically that I never dreamed I would have a problem transplanting in early spring. Please advise.|
Unfortunately, I lost my own Carol Mackie to pretty much the same thing. Apparently they are very finnicky about being moved once established.
|Louise||Jan 06, 2014||Are all parts of Carol Mackie poisonous?|
|Geoff Creese||Dec 11, 2014||I have wrongly cut down my daphne can I do anything such as grafting .The plant is10 years old please help.
I'm sorry to hear about the mishap! Unfortunately I'm no expert on vegetative propagation – a local nursery may have the expertise you're looking for.
|Sara||May 06, 2020||Your answers are useless. Apparently your customers know more than you do. You especially should have answer the question about poisonousness. I love Carol Mackie Daphne, but keep it away from the back yard where kids and dogs could encounter this poisonous plant. What to do about splitting? I have a mature plant that flops like what you don't want to flop....|
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