Sarcococcas should be better-known. Also called Christmas or sweet box, even these inviting names have failed to make them popular and they remain the most neglected of evergreens. They are amazingly easy to grow, more reliable and glossier than box and have the most incredible fragrance wafting from their delicate little flowers. Add to this the fact that they do not mind the dry and can tolerate lime or acid soil, you begin to wonder why they are not universally acclaimed.
Although first introduced into cultivation prior to 1825, it was well into the second half of the 20th century before these small evergreen shrubs became widely cultivated in British gardens. Since then Sarcococca has become more popular as low-growing evergreen ground cover, a trait in some species that was exploited as labour costs soared in municipal landscapes. Christmas box is not the same plant as the dwarf hedging box but it is related. Both Sarcococca and Buxus come from the Buxaceae family.
Sarcococca can often flower earlier in the year and are sometimes in full flower in January however they often hold out until February to fill the garden with their sweet scent, attracting pollinators and gardeners alike. All Sarcocca are evergreen, dwarf, or small shrubs with glossy, dark green leaves and fragrant flowers. Clusters of white flowers appear between the leaf axils between December and March. Berries will follow, varying in colour from black to purple and red. However, it must be said that their scent is undoubtedly their biggest attraction.
Sarcococca are suitable for planting in many areas of the garden, they can be planted to create a low hedge, used in the border as specimens or en masse to create an impressive wave of fragrance in the depths of winter. Growing Sarcococca is extremely easy. These plants thrive in shade but will cope with the sun too, as long as there is enough moisture during the summer months. Good drainage is helpful but not essential and they require little or no pruning.
I often use Sarcococca in planting schemes as there is always a shady corner that needs to be filled and this little shrub is, often, the perfect solution. I also think it can be well placed near the house, especially near the front door so you can get the full effect of the flowers and scent without having to venture too far into the garden on a gloomy winters day. It’s a great structural plant too and can create a great backdrop for other more delicate spring bulbs and herbaceous plants. Drifts of snowdrops planted amongst textural ferns make great partners to bring light and joy to a corner previously forgotten in the garden through the summer months. motilium tablets price