Your headline caught my eye, as Sudden Daphne Death is one of those mysteries about which much is written…usually with no actual resolve. I have grown probably 5 plants of ‘Carol Mackie,’ and killed 3, when they split open (due to their characteristic weak branch structure as they get older) after snowy winters and the heavy load. The one I’ve done best with is in full sun (I know, everywhere says part shade) and not great soil, between two paving stones in a sort of planting pocket in a patio. Really. I do think they like good drainage, and this soggy season may just have your plant in fits. Sometimes things that have had multiple stressors (being transplanted being one) can act up and defoliate early, instead of waiting until fall. So don’t give up…yet. But articles like the one I’ve linked to below, from Darrell Trout, and in references like Michael Dirr’s "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" say over and again: Who knows? But do not feed it, and don’t stress it our in any other way. Just watch, and wait, and know that you are not alone in "What’s up with my Daphne" worries. http://www.darrelltrout.com/dtartdapabo.asp
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.