Daphne × burkwoodii 'Carol Mackie'

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 1 Professionals
Common Name: daphne
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Thymelaeaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: May
Bloom Description: Pale pink
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: High
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Colorful
Fruit: Showy


Best grown in moist, rich, sandy-humusy, well-drained soils with a neutral pH in part shade. Consider raised plantings in areas of heavy clay soils to insure good drainage. Also best when planted in locations protected from winter winds and full sun. Benefits from a summer mulch or ground cover which will often help keep roots cool. Do not allow soils to dry out. Often slow to establish and is best left undisturbed once planted.

A well-grown 'Carol Mackie' is a beautiful shrub. Unfortunately, it is difficult to grow it well in the St. Louis climate.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Daphnes are well known for their intensely fragrant flowers. This daphne hybrid is a cross between D. cneorum and D. caucasica.

Genus name originally used for laurel (Laurus nobilis) but later transferred to this genus. Originally, from the nymph of the same name from Greek mythology, but could come from an Indo-European word meaning odor.

Specific epithet honors the brothers Albert and Arthur Burkwood who were English nurserymen and plant hybridists.

'Carol Mackie' is most noted for its outstanding variegated foliage. It is a dense, slow-growing, deciduous shrub which typically grows 2-3' tall with a rounded, mounding habit. Features fragrant clusters of pale pink flowers in late spring which are followed by tiny red drupes (1/3" wide) in fall. Oblong, grayish-green leaves (to 2" long) have striking, cream-edged margins, and the foliage often persists well into December.


Although many nurseries consider this plant to be winter hardy to USDA Zone 4, daphnes in the St. Louis area often suffer significant winter injury in severe winters, particularly if improperly planted in locations exposed to cold winter winds and full sun. Plants weakened by winter injury are more susceptible to disease problems. Potential diseases include leaf spots, canker, twig blight, crown rot and virus. Potential insect pests include aphids, mealy bugs and scale. Plants can be temperamental. Michael Dirr reports that daphnes sometimes die very quickly for "no explicable reason."

Garden Uses

A small, rounded shrub which is quite effective in smaller gardens. Plant in shrub borders, woodland gardens or incorporate into foundation plantings. Has good specimen value.