Daphne Odora – Looks Dead
15 years ago I brought 2 Daphne plants home from NC and planted under a pear tree; they loved their new home and thrived. This winter almost overnight they looked dead and I was heartbroken. I was away this last week and returned to find the white one (other is a pink) in bloom - about 1/3 of the plant. Upon looking closer and scraping away some bark I find green under the bark. Are they both dead or "as near"; can they be saved with pruning or are they just slowly dying. While we are selling the home, I would still love to be able to save these 2 plants for the next owner to enjoy them as much as we have these past 15 years.
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
The green under the bark shows that they are still alive, so the best option is to give them time. It's possible that they were cold-damaged during the winter. If you suspect this, wait until late spring or summer to see if any of the brown parts start growing and producing leaves again. You can then prune out any parts that appear to be completely dead- no leaves and no green color under the bark. Here is more about pruning Daphne:
If the plants continue to get worse instead of better as the weather gets warmer, it's possible that they have a disease. Here is some information about Daphne diseases