Fragrance in the winter is a real bonus to the garden and Sarcococca confusa, also known as ‘Sweet Box’, for its fragrance and in the Northern hemisphere ‘Christmas Box’, as this is when it flowers in the UK, and it is one of the best plants for winter fragrance it is from the Buxaceae family.
A low growing evergreen shrub reaching around 1.5 – 2m, this is an excellent plant for growing in dry shade, and landscapers use it widely for these characteristics.
Flowering in winter with white fragrant flowers Sarcococca confusa will grow in sun as well as shade and is frost tolerant. A useful hardy ground cover plant requiring little maintenance or care once established. The flowers are followed by black berries through summer.
Useful as a low hedge in a shaded position, a flowing feature in the border, a filler in a shaded corner or grown as winter flowering plant in a container.
Care and growing conditions
A humus rich soil in filtered to part shade or full sun. In warmer area protection from afternoon sun is advisable. Prune lightly after flowering to maintain shade. The root system is not regarded as invasive and these are a long lived shrub Fertilise with a slow release fertiliser in spring, water Sarcococca confusa in after planting with a seaweed fertiliser.
- Sarcococca ruscifolia – Flowers appear all along the stem and is smaller growing. Red berries and good perfumed flowers.
- Sarcococca hookeriana humilis – Smaller growing again and disease resistant. A suckering shrub that is easily confined.
- Sarcococca hookeriana ‘Purple Stem” – Narrow foliage compared to the species, petioles flushed with purple. Very desirable garden form.
- 1.5 -2m
- Grows well in dry shade
- Has fragrant flowers in winter
- Frost tolerant
- Excellent for planting beneath trees
Other winter fragrant plants include