Sarcococca is a vastly underrated evergreen shrub. It is commonly known as ‘sweet box’ or ‘Christmas box’ and it’s the perfect plant for a winter garden. It’s a tough, reliable plant that is really easy to grow.

Sarcococca has rich, shiny green leaves and fragrant white flowers in winter and early spring. These are followed by red and black berries. It is best known for its strong, almost vanilla scent, which brings the garden to life on a dull winter day.

Sarcococca is popular with florists because the shoots give a great boost to Christmas flower arrangements. They can last up to two weeks in a vase.

Growing Sarcococca

Sarcococca thrives in the shade, so it’s perfect for a shady border. But it will also grow in full sun provided that the roots are kept constantly moist.

It grows slowly and develops into low-growing mounds of evergreen foliage, making it ideal for ground cover. You can also grow it in containers to have it near the house or alongside a path to make the most of its scent.

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Types to try

Sarcococca confusa (sweet box)

This bushy evergreen is a win-win in the garden with its colour and interest through the year. The glossy green leaves perform all year, joined by scented white flowers in winter that pollinators enjoy. The flowers are followed by dark berries through summer.

  • Evergreen with flowers in winter
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 2.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained
  • Full shade or partial shade
  • Sheltered
Lavender-sprigs-in-lemon-drink

Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna.

For a small evergreen, this is a great contender for ground cover for banks and slopes. Plant it next to a pathway to make the most of its beautiful scent as you walk by. It is a low maintenance choice and can tolerate shade, atmospheric pollution and occasionally neglect.

  • Evergreen with flowers in winter
  • Hardy
  • Grows up to 1.5m tall
  • Moist but well-drained
  • Full shade or partial shade
  • Sheltered
Lavender-sprigs-in-lemon-drink

Sarcococca has a lot to offer in the garden, from their scented flowers that bees enjoy to the berries that add interest in summer. Their fragrance is lovely and sweet, perfect for patio pots and pathways plants.

Find out more about growing veg at home:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:

Growing vegetables at home part 1
Growing veg at home
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