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Daphniphyllum - Growing Guide
Growing Daphniphyllum macropodum
Daphniphyllum are handsome, robust evergreen trees with stout textured rhododendron like leaves which are often displayed in whorls. They come from Japan. The reference books take little account of the flowers on these plants which we find to be outstanding in the spring. The plants we grow are, we believe, male rather than female. The flowers appear in abundant upright racemes which are green at first then turning pink and, finally, a vivid purple to pink. This nicely matches the red new growth stalks and the red midrib of all the leaves themselves. As these photographs show this is rather a special tree in March and early April with us. Females have less splendid light green flowers but this tree died a few years ago here.
Our trees are around 20ft in height with a similar width and show potential to grow taller. We find that they can get honey fungus or develop rot at the base of the stem if there is any rabbit damage. So grow them well away from any old tree roots on fresh ground and give them a good rabbit netting surround even when mature.
This tree is frost hardy and seems to enjoy dappled shade rather than full sun. Fertile well drained soil and wind shelter produce vigorous new growth.
The plant is difficult from cuttings. They are best taken, we think, as softwood new growth cuttings in June.
In recent years other Taiwanese and Chinese forms or species of daphniphyllum have been introduced by plant collectors. Some of these are beginning to show promise at Caerhays but it will be a while before they enter the catalogue.