Best renowned for their scent, Daphne are hardy plants ranging from large shrubs to small alpines, producing fragrant purple or white flowers on upright stems, typically from winter through to spring. They work well as a focal point, around which the garden can be designed, adding some much needed colour over the winter months. Daphne are particularly well suited to growing near paths, doorways or entrances where their sweet perfume can be fully appreciated. Most are evergreen with oval, glossy or variegated leaves. The ever-popular Daphne mezereum is a common sight in February and March when its stiff, upright stems are clothed with purplish-red flowers. Daphne prefer a neutral to slightly alkaline, free-draining soil with the dwarf alpine varieties preferring an open, sunny position, while other varieties prefer a sheltered spot with at least the roots in partial shade for part of the day. Mulch in spring with well-rotted organic matter to keep the roots cool.