The Right Place
Fragrant daphnes are most at home in the South. However certain varieties are moderately hardy and will do well in protected northern sites along the eastern seaboard into Maryland and parts of southern Pennsylvania (zone 7). They are able to handle winter temperatures as low as 20° F safely, but will require winter protection of some sort in areas that experience lower temperatures. Always somewhat problematic, these shrubs are at risk above the Mason-Dixon line.
Most daphne shrubs are particular about their growing conditions, but it is not altogether clear what their preferences are in various sites. They seem to need especially good drainage, and do well in sandy soils or on sides of banks for that reason. Many seem to prefer soil that is on the alkaline side (pH 6.0 to 7.0), although some homeowners plant them successfully in soil that supports azaleas and rhododendrons (pH 5.0 to 6.0). Daphnes do not like strong sun, preferring light shade in the afternoons.
Planting Nursery Stock
Plant daphne shrubs when they are small, from 8 to 15 inches tall. Pick the site carefully, since once established, they resent being moved. Remove the shrub from its container so that the sandy soil does not fall away from the roots. Gently loosen any matted or tangled roots. Dig a hole wide enough to accommodate the spread roots and just deep enough to insure that the shrub is at the same depth it was in its pot. Set the daphne in the hole, taking care that it is at the correct depth. Fill the hole with soil, firming it gently over the roots and watering generously to assure good soil to root contact. Leave the shrub alone. Do not fertilize or prune.
For more information see file on Planting Shrubs.