Faves: ‘Carol Mackie’ Daphne

When you find a shrub that will grow in fairly consistent shade, and has interesting foliage, and will flower, and on top of it all will flower fragrantly, you need to crow about it. Hence this homage to Daphne ‘Carol Mackie.’

Daphne ‘Carol Mackie’ with Hosta ‘Striptease’ and, in the foreground’ Hosta ‘Janet’

I was first introduced to ‘Carol Mackie’ in a fantastic garden during the Riverdale Garden Tour, a few aeons ago. I don’t have the room they did for a swimming pool with waterfall and hot tub. ‘Carol Mackie’, however, is another question.

This relatively compact semi-evergreen shrub grows to about 4′ across, with whorls of deep green leaves edged in cream.

Small gardens like mine need leaf interest to stick around after perennials quit their bloomin’ blooming, and this Daphne makes a lovely anchor to my garden bed.

As it’s in the fairly shady northeast corner of the house, it does get a little leggy with a tendency to flop, especially after being weighted down with a ton or two of snow this winter. Once it’s finished blooming, however, I do intend to prop it up for next year.

Fragrant flower clusters

Every May, sometimes going into early June, as this year, small bunches of pink (fading to white) [yikes! I mean white (fading to pink)] flowers open up–- and fill the garden with a heady scent.

The large image that begins this post shows it paired with the statuesque Hosta ‘Striptease’ whose variegated strip down the centre of each leaf contrast nicely with the cream-edged daphne leaves. On the other side of the bed, a blue-leaved Hosta ‘Halcyon’ and Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum pictum) make another kind of picture with the leaves. White bleeding heart peeps over the top of the shrub.

An all-round winner. Remember that name: ‘Carol Mackie’.


  1. I have several carol mackie daphne and most are great, however one is turning brown and looks like it is dying. Do not know what to do to save it I live along Lake Erie In western NY. Any suggestions will be appreciated. L. S.

    1. Hi, Loretta, Sorry to hear about your problem. Since posting about my love for ‘Carol Mackie’ my own shrub suffered a sudden death a couple of years ago. I’ve since learned that it can be unpredictable that way. Unsure why your particular shrub might be suffering, but perhaps you can inspect (gently) the subsoil conditions of the roots. Root rot is said to be a problem. This Q&A from the Toronto Master Gardener website might provide some insight. Good luck! http://www.torontomastergardeners.ca/askagardener/carol-mackie-daphne-2/

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