HOW TO GROW DAPHNE BHOLUA 'Jacqueline Postill'

Close up image of the lilac blooms of Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill'
How to grow Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill'

Commonly known as the Nepalese paper plant, Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill' is an evergreen to semi-evergreen shrub noted for its showy blooms and strong, yet sweet fragrance. The original species is a native to the Himalayas and entered cultivation in England in 1938. The 'Jacqueline Postill' cultivar is a selected seedling from Daphne bholua 'Gurkha', raised by Hilliers nursery propagator Alan Postill in 1892. In turn, the 'Gurkha' form was a naturally occurring variation collected in 1962 by Major Tom Spring-Smith at 3200 metres on the Milke Danda ridge, East Nepal.

Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill' in full bloom
How to grow Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill'
Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill' is a more evergreen form and arguably the hardiest of all the Daphne bholua varieties in cultivation. It has an erect habit and under favourable conditions can reach an approximate height of 1.5-2.5 metres with a width between 1-1.5 metres. The dark-green leaves are leathery and oblanceolate.

Clusters of small, sweetly scented, deep pink buds appear in January and February, opening white with a reddish-mauve reverse. Once pollinated the blooms are followed by rounded, purple-black berries. The flowers are much larger and just as powerfully scented as the 'Gurkha' form.

For the best floral displays provide a sunny, sheltered position, although it will tolerate partial shade if needed. Plant in moderately fertile, well-drained, humus-rich soil. You can even grow it in chalky soils. There are just a couple of things to be aware of when growing this specimen to prevent the future loss of your plant. Choose your final position carefully as Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill' does not fare well when being transplanted after becoming established. Avoid planting in exposed areas as despite being hardy as even established specimens have been lost during extreme winter weather conditions.

It is a great plant for suburban gardens and a popular choice for planting near doorways so that the pungent fragrance can be appreciated when entering and leaving properties.

Keep pruning as Daphne 'Jacqueline Postill' to a minimum as it can be prone to dieback. However if pruning is required to remove errant, disease or damaged shoots then this should be carried out from mid to late spring.

Despite being the most widely available and most popular Daphne cultivar, Daphne bholua 'Jacqueline Postill' has only received a First Class Certificate (1991) from the Royal Horticultural Society. By comparison, Daphne bholua 'Gurkha' received the Award of garden Merit in 1984, while the original species was awarded both the Award of Merit in 1946 and again an Award of Garden Merit in 1984.
Main image credit and in text image - Magnus Manske image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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