I stopped at Bayview Farm and Garden Nursery this week just to walk down this covered walkway where Sarcococca or Sweetbox is traditionally on display this time of year.  This is a perfect spot for it –  shaded, cool and right near the doorway where all can enjoy the intoxicating fragrance.

The three species most commonly available are Sarcococca confusa, Sarcococca ruscifolia and Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis.  Sarcococca confusa and ruscifolia mature into evergreen shrubs about 4 feet tall and wide. S. confusa has blue-black berries and S. ruscifolia has red berries.   Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis is a slowly suckering shrub, also evergreen, that matures to about 18″ tall and makes a nice little hedge.  A new species in my garden,  Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna ‘Purple Stem’  has paler and longer leaves, more noticeable pink in the flowers, a purple cast to the stems and is stol0niferous (spreads by underground runners).   All like shade and must have protection from direct sun. Sarcococca prefers rich, moist soil but will  tolerate drought – even under eaves once  established –  which can take a few years.  All should be perfectly hardy in our climate.

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