How to Propagate Daphne

How to Propagate Daphne
Gracie Owens
Gracie Owens she/her - Author at YardPrep October 01, 2023

The propagation of daphne plants is a rewarding process that allows gardeners to create new plants from existing ones. There are several methods of propagating daphne, each with its own set of steps and requirements. In this article, we will explore the different methods of propagating daphne, factors that affect successful propagation, and common challenges that may arise during the process.

How to Propagate Daphne

To propagate daphne, start by taking semi-ripe cuttings in summer, dip them in rooting hormone, and plant them in well-draining soil. Keep the cuttings in a sheltered spot with indirect sunlight and mist them regularly. After a few weeks, the cuttings should develop roots, and you can transplant them into individual pots. With proper care, these cuttings will grow into new daphne plants.

Methods of Propagating Daphne

1. Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings are a popular method of propagating daphne plants. The best time to take stem cuttings is during the spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. To propagate daphne using stem cuttings, follow these steps:

  1. Select a healthy stem from the parent plant.
  2. Cut a 4-6 inch section of the stem just below a leaf node.
  3. Remove the lower leaves from the cutting, leaving only a few at the top.
  4. Dip the cut end of the stem in rooting hormone to promote root development.
  5. Plant the cutting in a well-draining potting mix and keep it in a warm and humid environment.
  6. Water the cutting regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged.
  7. After a few weeks, the cutting should develop roots and can be transplanted into a larger pot or the garden.

2. Layering

Layering is another method of propagating daphne plants. There are two types of layering: simple layering and tip layering. Simple layering involves bending a low-growing stem to the ground and burying a portion of it in the soil. Tip layering, on the other hand, involves burying the tip of a stem while keeping the rest of the stem above ground. To propagate daphne using layering, follow these steps:

  1. Select a healthy, flexible stem from the parent plant.
  2. Choose a spot in the garden where you want the new plant to grow.
  3. For simple layering, make a small trench in the soil and bury a portion of the stem, leaving the tip above ground. For tip layering, bury the tip of the stem in the soil, leaving the rest of the stem above ground.
  4. Secure the buried portion of the stem with a small stake or rock to keep it in place.
  5. Water the layered stem regularly, keeping the soil moist.
  6. After a few months, the layered stem should develop roots and can be separated from the parent plant and transplanted.

3. Division

Division is a method of propagating daphne plants that involves separating the plant into smaller sections, each with its own roots. The best time to divide daphne plants is in the early spring before new growth begins. To propagate daphne using division, follow these steps:

  1. Dig up the entire plant, being careful not to damage the roots.
  2. Use a sharp knife or garden spade to divide the plant into smaller sections, making sure each section has its own set of roots.
  3. Replant the divided sections in well-draining soil, making sure to keep the root system intact.
  4. Water the newly divided plants thoroughly and continue to water regularly until they become established.

4. Seed Propagation

Seed propagation is a method of propagating daphne plants that involves collecting and sowing seeds. Daphne seeds can take a long time to germinate, often requiring a period of cold stratification to break dormancy. To propagate daphne using seeds, follow these steps:

  1. Collect ripe seeds from the parent plant in the fall.
  2. Clean the seeds by removing any pulp or debris.
  3. Place the seeds in a plastic bag filled with moist vermiculite or peat moss.
  4. Seal the bag and place it in the refrigerator for 2-3 months to simulate winter conditions.
  5. After the cold stratification period, sow the seeds in pots filled with well-draining potting mix.
  6. Keep the pots in a warm and bright location, but out of direct sunlight.
  7. Water the seeds regularly, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged.
  8. After several weeks or months, the seeds should germinate, and the seedlings can be transplanted into larger pots or the garden.

5. Grafting

Grafting is a more advanced method of propagating daphne plants that involves joining a scion (desired plant variety) with a rootstock (hardy and disease-resistant plant). There are several grafting techniques that can be used for daphne, including whip grafting, cleft grafting, and side grafting. To propagate daphne using grafting, follow these steps:

  1. Select a healthy scion and rootstock that are similar in size and diameter.
  2. Cut a diagonal slice on both the scion and rootstock.
  3. Align the two cuts and bind them together with grafting tape or twine.
  4. Keep the grafted plant in a warm and humid environment to promote healing.
  5. After a few weeks, the graft should take and the plant can be transplanted into a larger pot or the garden.

Factors Affecting Successful Propagation

Several factors can affect the success of propagating daphne plants. It is important to consider these factors and provide optimal conditions for successful propagation.

1. Temperature

The ideal temperature range for propagating daphne is between 60-70°F (15-21°C). Temperature fluctuations can impact the success rate, so it is important to maintain a consistent temperature during the propagation process.

2. Humidity

Daphne plants prefer high humidity levels, especially during the rooting or germination process. If the humidity is too low, it can hinder root development or seed germination. To increase humidity, you can use a humidity dome or mist the plants regularly.

3. Soil Conditions

Daphne plants require well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH between 6.0-6.5. The soil should also be rich in organic matter and nutrients. Proper soil conditions are essential for root development and overall plant health.

4. Proper Care

Proper care practices during the propagation process are crucial for the success of daphne plants. This includes watering the plants regularly, fertilizing them with a balanced fertilizer, and providing adequate light conditions. It is important to monitor the plants closely and make adjustments as needed.

Common Challenges and Troubleshooting

1. Rooting Failure

Rooting failure is a common challenge that can occur during daphne propagation. This can be caused by various factors, such as improper temperature or humidity, poor soil conditions, or disease. To overcome rooting failure, it is important to ensure that the plants are provided with optimal conditions and proper care.

2. Disease and Pest Issues

Daphne plants can be susceptible to certain diseases and pests, especially during the propagation process. Common issues include powdery mildew, root rot, and aphid infestations. To prevent or treat these issues, it is important to maintain good hygiene, provide proper air circulation, and use organic or chemical treatments if necessary.


In conclusion, propagating daphne plants can be done through various methods such as stem cuttings, layering, division, seed propagation, and grafting. Each method has its own set of steps and requirements, and it is important to follow proper techniques and provide optimal conditions for successful propagation. Factors such as temperature, humidity, soil conditions, and proper care can greatly affect the success rate. By understanding these factors and troubleshooting common challenges, gardeners can enjoy the process of propagating daphne and create new plants to enhance their gardens.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you start a daphne from a cutting?

To propagate daphne from a cutting, select a healthy stem and make a clean cut just below a leaf node. Remove the lower leaves and dip the cut end in rooting hormone. Plant the cutting in a well-draining potting mix, keeping it moist but not waterlogged. Place the pot in a warm and bright location, and in a few weeks, roots should start to develop. Once the cutting has established roots, it can be transplanted into a larger container or directly into the garden.

Why is daphne hard to grow?

Daphne can be challenging to grow because it has specific requirements for optimal growth. It prefers well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Daphne also requires a cool, moist root zone and a sunny location with some shade during the hottest part of the day. Additionally, it is sensitive to changes in its environment, making it prone to stress and susceptible to pests and diseases. Proper care and attention to its needs are essential for successful daphne cultivation.

Why are the leaves on my daphne turning yellow and falling off?

Yellowing and falling leaves on a daphne plant can indicate various issues. Overwatering or poorly draining soil can lead to root rot, causing leaf discoloration. Insufficient sunlight or excessive heat can also stress the plant, resulting in yellowing leaves. Additionally, nutrient deficiencies, such as iron or magnesium, can cause leaf yellowing. Pests, such as aphids or spider mites, could be feeding on the leaves, causing damage. It is important to assess the growing conditions, address any potential problems, and provide appropriate care to help restore the health of the daphne plant.

How hard can you cut back daphne?

Daphne can tolerate moderate pruning, but it is generally best to avoid heavy or drastic pruning. Light pruning to shape the plant or remove dead or diseased branches can be done after flowering. However, significant pruning can stress the plant and affect its overall health and blooming potential. If necessary, it is advisable to spread out any major pruning over a few years to minimize the impact on the daphne.

When is the best time to propagate daphne?

The best time to propagate daphne is in late spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. During this period, the plant's natural growth hormones are most active, promoting successful root development. It is important to choose a healthy stem for propagation and provide the cutting with appropriate care and conditions to ensure its successful establishment.

Can daphne be propagated from seeds?

Yes, daphne can be propagated from seeds, but it requires patience and specific conditions. Collect ripe seeds from the plant and sow them in a well-draining potting mix. Keep the soil consistently moist and provide bottom heat to enhance germination. However, it is important to note that daphne seeds can be slow and erratic to germinate, often taking several months or even a year. Therefore, propagating daphne from cuttings is generally a more reliable and faster method.

How long does it take for a daphne cutting to root?

The time it takes for a daphne cutting to root can vary depending on various factors such as the cultivar, environmental conditions, and care provided. On average, it can take around 4 to 8 weeks for roots to develop. However, it is important to be patient and maintain consistent care during this period, ensuring the cutting has adequate moisture and a suitable rooting environment.