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Sarcococca orientalis

Chinese sweet box

A compact, bushy, evergreen shrub to 1m tall and wide. Stout shoots bear oval to lanceolate, glossy leaves, up to 9cm long, that taper to a point. Fragrant, creamy-white flowers, the males tinged pink, are borne in winter and followed by black fruits

Other common names
Christmas box
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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
5–10 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green Black
Summer Green Black
Autumn Green
Winter Cream Pink White Green
Position
  • Full shade
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or North–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H5
Botanical details
Family
Buxaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy
Potentially harmful
Fruit are ornamental - not to be eaten. Wear gloves and other protective equipment when handling
Genus

Sarcococca are compact, sometimes suckering evergreen shrubs with simple, leathery leaves and tiny, fragrant creamy-white flowers in winter or spring, followed by red, purple or black berries which may persist into the following winter

Name status

Correct

Plant range
China

How to grow

Cultivation

Grows best in moderately fertile, moist but well-drained soil in light shade. Avoid dry, exposed sites

Propagation

Propagate by seed or by semi-hardwood cuttings

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • Low Maintenance
  • Flower borders and beds
  • Hedging and screens
Pruning

Pruning group 8

Pests

Generally pest-free

Diseases

May be susceptible to honey fungus

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