Introducing (drum roll please) Daphne Perfume Princess

Mark's Daphne Perfume Princess

Mark’s Daphne Perfume Princess

By the time a new plant bred by Mark finally gets released onto the market, it has been a part of our lives for so many years that it no longer feels new or exciting to us. Mark has long since moved on to the next generation of plants. But we remain excited by this daphne, named Perfume Princess.

Perfume Princess to the left, centre is a large flowered D. odora 'Grace Stewart', right is a normal sized Daphne odora

Perfume Princess to the left, centre is a large flowered D. odora ‘Grace Stewart’, right is a normal sized Daphne odora

It is “just a daphne”, as Mark is wont to say, but what a daphne. For starters, the flower is significantly larger than comparable odora types. The flowering season is also a great deal longer. This is both the first and the last daphne to bloom each year in our garden. The plant itself is noticeably more robust than other odoras. It looks like a particularly healthy odora – and many gardeners will know that the common daphne is not remarkable for vigour, health or indeed longevity so any improvement in that area is welcome. It smells like a daphne and is that not why we grow them?

But it also has the capacity to flower down the stem when growing strongly. I describe it as the eucomis look. This characteristic adds a great deal to its flower power. So yes, even we are still excited by this new daphne.
046The eucomis look










Back around 1996, Mark was taken to meet UK breeder, Robin White. Some readers will know him for his Daphne Eternal Fragrance although back then, it was his work on the Party Dress series of double hellebores that fascinated Mark more. However, that visit inspired Mark to renew his efforts with daphnes after he had been disappointed with initial efforts. It was not to be as straightforward as other plant genera he works with. The progeny were few. Poor Perfume Princess was nearly lost before she ever got to show her strengths and that, we think, would have been pity.

Please, admire my restraint in not using a naff heading such as “Birth of a Princess”. Any coincidence with the arrival of the British royal baby was just that – coincidence.

Perfume Princess was released in New Zealand last weekend, launched in Australia at the Melbourne Flower Show and is available in UK and Europe. It has yet to be released in North America. It is managed on our behalf by Anthony Tesselaar Plants. We do not handle the production or distribution so any enquiries regarding availability need to be directed to them.

9 thoughts on “Introducing (drum roll please) Daphne Perfume Princess

  1. Nancy

    Thanks Abby it’s looks really nice and I will be on the lookout for one. Sorry Mark has had such a long road to hoe( literally) before we ever get to hear about it. I keep enjoying your articles Kind regards,Nancy

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Thank you, Nancy. Though I should perhaps comment that once identified, the path through trialling and testing to market went at lightning speed for the daphne when compared to magnolias!

  2. Andre´Johnke

    Dear Abbie,

    this plant was the absolute show stopper at our local camellia show in April where it sold on sight (50 plants in 15 minutes!). It is definitely the choicest beauty of all the Daphnes ,with the largest flowers, the strongest scent and the healthiest growth of them all. I have planted 20 of them to line the entrance path to my house, 10 on each side, though I fear visitors will now take much longer to arrive, or they probably never will, being overwhelmed by the intoxicating scent.


    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Oh Andre, that is great to hear. We have high hopes for it but there is always a nervous wait to see if it proves itself.
      Kind regards,

  3. belindaelizabethruxtonwilson

    Hi Abby

    I saw on your blog a little time back a mention of Speciosa Montana which sounded like a great (less triffidlike) alternative to the Native Speciosa and wondered if you had any idea of where i could get one

    ‘ You mentioned that you had one

    Love your blog…green with envy when you showed quite how many plants were flowering in your garden in Autumn

    And i would love to get any help with this plant if you have a spare moment


    Belinda Wilson

    M 021 731 007

    T 09 360 7075



    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Sorry Belinda, we are now well out of touch with who is producing what these days so I have no idea who, if anyone, is producing it for sale.

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  5. John Kingdon (@John_Kingdon)

    Hi Abbie

    I’ve been reading your blog here in the UK since one of your appearances on thinkinGardens. I live about an hour west of Anne W (and am not bad tempered!). And sorry if this comment appears several times – WordPress is playing up for me today so now trying my Twitter ID!

    To cut a long story short(ish) I’ve been fancying this Daphne since you blogged about it in May. But, it seems, the UK suppliers can’t agree about when it flowers (range from January to April) or how hardy it is (ranges from “hardy” via “may need winter protection” to “grow in a tub and move to a heated greenhouse or conservatory in winter.”) I don’t have any conservatory space and try not to heat the greenhouse in winter (plus I’m not a fan of “shrubs in tubs”).

    So I thought I’d ask the expert (not “creeping”, honest) what do you think is the minimum temperature the princess can reliably survive? Soil will be a nicely-draining loam, south-west facing position and it’ll be well protected from the north if that makes a difference. Minimum temp here over last 10 years has been -11C in a February.

    Thanks in anticipation, as they say.


    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      Hello John. The answer is that this is new territory so to give a definitive answer is not yet possible. I see our agents – Tesselaar Plants – are saying that it is okay up to -15 celsius which should mean it will be okay with you. But that is based on a small number of plants that have come through those low temperatures unscathed. It is going to take more plants and more time to be completely confident that it will be fine for most people in such low winter temperatures. It certainly seems to be hardier than a standard odora. Good drainage will help. It is winter flowering with a long season so January to March or April sounds about right for your hemisphere. It is both the first and last winter daphne to flower here. I would say it is worth trying – and please keep in touch and tell us how it is performing.
      Kind regards, Abbie

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