Danae racemosa is the lyrical botanical name for this hard-to-find garden gem. Most gardeners are unaware of this plant with somewhat ferny looking leaves, but florists and flower arrangers have loved poet’s laurel for ages because it adds a wonderful texture in an arrangement plus it lasts forever in water (at least a month). If you have a shaded location and like shrubs that have a graceful, upright arching habit perhaps you should read further.
Where is Danae racemosa happy? It loves a home in very shady or partial shade locations. Morning sun and afternoon shade are ideal, just like we tell you for your favorite mophead hydrangeas. If you have a sunny location with very hot afternoon sun be forewarned that the foliage can get scorched. A church in my neighborhood has wonderful large specimens of poet’s laurel growing in front of several huge Japanese fatsias, all tucked away into a little shaded corner near the sidewalk. What wonderful cutting material for the church member in charge of making arrangements. Just add those grocery store flowers and voila! If you choose to add some hostas as an underplanting you can also use the hosta leaves in arrangements. Other perennials that like the same light conditions are variegated Solomon’s seal, ajuga, cast iron plant, liriope, ferns, hellebores and Japanese anemones.
Some sites with information about this deer proof shrub will tell you it has a moderate growth rate but we believe slow is more accurate in our area. Why is poet’s laurel a little on the pricey side? The seeds can take up to eighteen months to germinate and then the plants themselves take a while to become a saleable size. Plants Delights Nursery, a well-known specialty nursery in N.C., sells a 3.5” pot for $22 before shipping and handling are factored in. This shrub may take a few years to produce marble-sized reddish-orange berries in the fall, but the berries are attractive to birds so it’s worth the wait. Another plus is that Danae racemosa is relatively pest free.
If after reading this you want to try a few branches in water, to test their longevity, I am told by a very knowledgeable local gardener that it is incorrectly called Ruscus or Italian Ruscus by the florists. So now you’ll know what to ask for. If you are ready to try some poet’s laurel with roots we have them available in two sizes at reasonable prices. This thick textured evergreen has a very lush look to it, and because it slowly reaches 2’-4’ tall and wide it is the perfect size for almost any yard.
Stems last in water for a month