Height: 1 m (3 feet)
Spread: 1.25 m (4 feet)
Bloom: Small fragrant pink blooms in spring
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Foliage: in my zone 5 semi-evergreen, variegated
Pluses: fragrance, variegated semi-evergreen foliage
Carol Mackie Daphne is one of the most fragrant plants in bloom I have come across. Small pink flowers cover the entire plant in late May for about 2 to 3 weeks. Sometimes you get a second, lighter bloom in September. Stand several feet away and you can still smell the sweet fragrance of a Carol Mackie Daphne in bloom. Carol Mackie is often rated as a zone 6 plant but it seems to thrive in our zone 5 garden.
The foliage of Carol Mackie is green with yellow edges. In my zone 5 Southern Ontario garden the foliage is semi-evergreen with many of the leaves falling off during the winter or turning a slight pink particularly if they receive no snow protection.
Yet, as the picture on the left shows, leaves can survive even covered in ice. I have read that Carol Mackie needs protection from winter winds yet my Carol Mackie is placed on the north side of our home.
Carol Mackie does not need any extra fertilizer to create abundant growth as well as prolific blooms as long as it is planted in well draining, moderately rich soil. Carol Mackie is known unfortunately for whole branches, or sometimes the entire plant, up and dying for no known reason. Some say the roots do not like to be disturbed so I do not do any digging around the base of my Carol Mackie Daphne. Give it lots of room to grow without perennials that may need to be dug up and lifted at its base. In 2010 we began to experience some branches dying. That particular year we experienced a cold wet spring followed by a wet summer. It is likely that this dieback is due to crown rot in soil that remained too wet. While cutting back the offending branches helped, the issue worsened in 2011 when we once again experienced a cold, wet spring. My plan in 2012 is to cut the plant back severely and see if it will rejuvinate.
Garden Location: Planted in our Front Walkway Garden in 2005. After 5 years we began to have some issues with branches dying. A second specimen planted near the Garden House in 2009.
UPDATE: In 2012 my original Carol Mackie died of root rot.