Sarcococca (Christmas box or sweet box) is excellent plant for the winter garden and has small but highly scented flowers among the shiny evergreen leaves. Use it with snowdrops, Arum italicum subsp. italicum ‘Marmoratun’ and early hellebores. they make excellent ground cover under deciduous trees, and flowering stems can be cut for use in winter flower arrangements. Sarcococca looks great when trimmed into a ball shape, and grows well in a shady position.

Sarcococca confusa is a low-growing shrub with glossy, dark green leaves. In winter it produces clusters of fragrant white flowers, and these are followed by glossy black fruits.

The naturally occurring variety Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna, the most widely grown form, has equally fragrant white flowers with pink sepals in mid- to late winter and blackish-blue fruit.


Sarcococca confusa

Sarcococca humilis is a dwarf shrub, bearing pink-tinged, white flowers and blackish-blue fruit. Sarcococca ruscifolia is a shrub with white flowers which are small, but very fragrant, followed by bright red fruit. Sarcococca ruscifolia forms natural espalier against wall.


Sarcococca confusa with glossy black fruits

Sarcococca is most attractive when grown in full shade and rich soil. It will grow with more sun provided it is given ample water, but the leaves will be smaller, yellower and less glossy.

Valentine’s Day is upon us and Sarcococca is a lovely winter flower to brighten up gray days in beautiful flowering bouquet. The scent of Sarcococca in late January and most of February lifts our spirits.


Sarcococca humilis

Sarcococca hookeriana

Sarcococca hookeriana

Sarcococca hookeriana1

Sarcococca hookeriana with berries


Sarcococca ruscifolia

SEE ALSO:   Mahonia

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