shrub

Fragrant Sweet Box

Sarcococca ruscifolia

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Fragrant Sweet Box (Sarcococca ruscifolia) at New Garden Landscaping & Nursery

Fragrant Sweet Box

Fragrant Sweet Box

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Fragrant Sweet Box (Sarcococca ruscifolia) at New Garden Landscaping & Nursery

Fragrant Sweet Box foliage

Fragrant Sweet Box foliage

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  5 feet

Spread:  5 feet

Sunlight:  partial shade  full shade 

Hardiness Zone:  6b

Description:

This attractive rounded shrub offers deep green glossy foliage and highly fragrant tiny blooms in the dead of winter, unlike most species; flowering is followed by red berries that turn black over summer and persist until the following winter

Ornamental Features

Fragrant Sweet Box is primarily grown for its highly ornamental fruit. It features an abundance of magnificent black berries in early summer. It has attractive dark green foliage. The glossy pointy leaves are highly ornamental and remain dark green throughout the winter. It features dainty clusters of fragrant creamy white flowers along the branches from early fall to late winter.

Landscape Attributes

Fragrant Sweet Box is a dense multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a more or less rounded form. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

This shrub will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should only be pruned after flowering to avoid removing any of the current season's flowers. It has no significant negative characteristics.

Fragrant Sweet Box is recommended for the following landscape applications;

  • Mass Planting
  • Hedges/Screening
  • General Garden Use
  • Container Planting

Planting & Growing

Fragrant Sweet Box will grow to be about 5 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 5 feet. It has a low canopy, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub does best in partial shade to shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil pH, but grows best in rich soils. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This species is not originally from North America.

Fragrant Sweet Box makes a fine choice for the outdoor landscape, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. Because of its height, it is often used as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when grown in a container, it may not perform exactly as indicated on the tag - this is to be expected. Also note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Massing  Screening  Garden  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Fruit  Foliage Color  Winter Value 
Ornamental Features