Grow Winter Daphne Shrubs for Early, Fragrant Blooms

Give your garden a treat with Banana Split Daphne shrub. This winter daphne has fragrant flowers that bloom in late winter or early spring.

How to Grow a Winter Daphne Shrub

Daphne,odora,flowers,isolated,on,white.Shutterstock / Robyn Mackenzie
Daphne odora blooms in late winter or early spring.

When planted in part shade and moist, well-draining soil, winter daphne (Daphne odora, Zones 7 to 9) thrives in warmer climates and delights gardeners with gorgeous blooms. It can also be kept in containers and overwintered inside.

Why we love it: Add these super-early bloomers, and “spring” could start in January. Winter daphne’s fragrant flowers bloom between January and April.

Banana Split Daphne

41654 Daphne Odora Monzulzay Banana Split 2184mnc©Monrovia by photography
Banana Split Daphne features vibrant leaves and fragrant flowers.

Try Banana Split Daphne (Daphne odora ‘Monzulzay’). This winter daphne from Monrovia is named for the bright yellow variegation on the outside of its leaves, which stick around all winter in some backyards. Starting in late winter, look for rosy pink bud clusters on branch ends. They open to reveal aromatic creamy white flowers, which are the cherries on top of this shrub.

The variegated, evergreen leaves make this winter daphne a welcome addition to a home garden of any size.

  • Attracts: Birds, bees, butterflies
  • Light needs: Full sun to partial shade
  • Size: 4 feet tall and wide
  • Grown for: Interesting leaves, pleasant scent and early blooms
  • Foliage: Long, pointed and edged with yellow
  • Soil: Daphnes do best with very well-draining soil. Apply a layer of mulch to keep the roots cool.
  • Watering needs: Water deeply, regularly during the first growing season to establish an extensive root system. Let the soil dry slightly between waterings, but keep it moist.
  • Fertilizer: Feed with a general purpose fertilizer before new growth begins in spring.
  • Pruning time: Prune after flowering in spring to maintain a neat appearance.

See our picks for the top 10 early spring flowering bushes.

Backyard Tip

Grow Banana Split Daphne where you can enjoy the scent, but also avoid touching. All parts are poisonous and it causes skin irritation. Make sure you wear gardening gloves. Gardeners with children should pick a different shrub. Next, check out more blooming bushes that attract butterflies.

Lori Vanover
Lori has 20 years of experience writing and editing home, garden, birding and lifestyle content for several publishers. As Birds & Blooms senior digital editor, she leads a team of writers and editors sharing birding tips and expert gardening advice. Since joining Trusted Media Brands 13 years ago, she has held roles in digital and print, editing magazines and books, curating special interest publications, managing social media accounts, creating digital content and newsletters, and working with the Field Editors—Birds & Blooms network of more than 50 backyard birders. Passionate about animals and nature, Lori has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Environmental Communications from the University of Illinois. In 2023, she became certified as a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, and she is a member of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology and sits on the organization's Publications Advisory Committee. She frequently checks on her bird feeders while working from home and tests new varieties of perennials, herbs and vegetable plants in her ever-growing backyard gardens.