Sarcococca humilis

I referred to winter-flowering Sarcococca humilis (Christmas box or sweet box) in my March newsletter. Not entirely sure that this is the preferred name these days, but it’s the one I continue to use. The one I bought – quite a few years now – was labelled ‘Purple Stem’, which apparently belongs to a form of S. hookeryana var. dignya. Who knows?

Sarcococca humilis has glossy green leaves that stay on the plant year round

It’s a nice-looking thing, with its glossy evergreen leaves, but it does not do well for me, failing to make good growth though reasonably generous with its sickly-sweet (but tiny) white flowers. From a trawl of the internet, any problem appears to be solely mine, as other gardeners manage to have it thriving.

It may be the heaviness of my soil that gives it grief – it’s reputedly tolerant of lime and shade (both of which it has in my garden). Books I have consulted are a little vague on the matter – perhaps someone can enlighten me?

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