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Home > Plants > Shrubs

Sarcococca (Sweet box)

Sarcococca (Sweet box)
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Description

There are two varieties of Sarcococca that are commonly grown here in the Northwest: S. hookerana humilis, a low-spreader that seldom grows over 12 to 18 inches high and 3 to 5 feet wide and S. ruscifolia, a taller plant that grows about 3 feet high and wide.

Humilis fits in well as a ground cover plant, in rockeries low borders or foundation plantings. While the taller ruscifolia is a natural for entryways, containers or foundation planting.

Both should be placed where the intense fragrance of the flowers and the beauty of the foliage can be enjoyed to the fullest. The flowers, although quite small, standout above the dark glossy green leaves. Small round black fruit often forms after the plants have flowered.

Flowers generally open in January and, depending upon the weather, may still be blooming in early March. Although the flowers are rather small and insignificant to look at, their intense fragrance more than compensates.

Sarcococca ruscifolia Few shrubs reach their peak in the middle of winter, but that is precisely when Sarcococca ruscifolia begins to shine. Tiny white flowers hidden amongst its glossy, dark-green foliage, open to release a delightful perfume of sweet vanilla. The perfume wafts in the winter air from January through February and brings to mind the smells of a Swedish bakery. Following flowering, small scarlet berries appear. This cool season charmer thrives in shade and tolerates dry shade once it is established. Place this shrub near shady entrances to revel in the winter fragrance. It can be used as a single specimen threaded among an evergreen border or planted in drifts to maximize its floral fragrance. It also thrives in woodland settings
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